White House defends private Prince party

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The White House on Monday defended a private concert over the weekend featuring Prince and Stevie Wonder, saying the Obamas paid for it themselves.

Around 500 people attended the event, which was not disclosed on the president’s public schedule. Press secretary Josh Earnest confirmed the first couple hosted a private party for their friends and said they “did it on their own dime."

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, singer Ciara, and the Rev. Al Sharpton were among those in attendance. The guest list reportedly also  included powerful business figures such as Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein and American Express CEO Ken Chenault.

Given the size of the party and the influential guest list, Earnest was asked why the event was not made public. The spokesman said hosting a private event, while an “appropriate thing” to do, is “not part of the responsibilities of the president and first lady.”

“The president and the first lady are going to reserve the right to host private parties at the White House, and they did it on their own dime,” he said.

He said the White House would not release a guest list.