By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers is coming under fire in the media and from some prior East Wing officials for not posting aides at gates used by the recent State Dinner guests to make sure no party crashers could enter. One former East Wing veteran of the Bush and Clinton years even suggested that Rogers might have to step aside and allow the first family to bring in a social office veteran to handle the escalating affair during which two uninvited guests, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, snuck past Secret Service agents.
On the Today Show, the Salahis said that they were invited, were working with Secret Service investigators, and didn't violate any rule or law to gain entry to the presidential State Dinner reception two days before Thanksgiving.
Several former officials said that it has long been standard practice for social officers to first check names of party guests before moving to Secret Service agents. Even at White House Christmas parties, that has been the protocol. This time, however, only Secret Service agents checked names.
Besides former White House officials criticizing her, some in the media have weighed in on Rogers. National Public Radio blogger Frank James took his shot today. "All the embarrassment to the Obama White House could have been avoided if Social Secretary Desiree Rogers, a close friend of the president and first lady, had followed the past practice of posting representatives from her office at the entry point. (With that last line, I may have ensured that I will never be on the invite list for a White House event but then I wasn't going to be on it anyway)," he wrote.
Still, it is highly unlikely that Rogers will be punished or asked to step aside, though she is among those expected to testify before a committee probing the State Dinner crashing on Thursday. The White House yesterday said that the blame is not on the Social Office or Rogers.