Note: Hours after publishing the report on which this story was based, the New York Times has issued a correction. It reads, "An earlier version of this article and headline created an unfair impression about who was responsible for the purchase in question. While Nikki R. Haley is the current ambassador to the United Nations, the decision on leasing the ambassador’s residence and purchasing the curtains was made during the Obama administration, according to current and former officials. The article should not have focused on Ms. Haley, nor should a picture of her have been used. The article and headline have now been edited to reflect those concerns, and the picture has been removed." The headline and text of this piece have accordingly been updated to reflect the emphasis that the State Department planned to install the curtains in Nikki Haley's apartment before her appointment to the position of Ambassador to the United Nations.
If there’s one very appropriate pattern among Trump administration appointees and associates, it’s their penchant for big spending. (Trump, let’s remember, has a literally gold-plated New York residence.) Nikki Haley is the latest to join the ranks of those officials who apparently prefer things that come with high price tags (and at taxpayer expense). The New York Times is reporting that Haley’s New York City apartment (near her workplace as United Nations ambassador) has $52,701 “customized and mechanized curtains,” which were purchased and paid for by the government despite a since-lifted State Department hiring freeze and other budget cuts.
Haley’s First Avenue full-floor penthouse apartment itself sounds like a pretty swanky place, even pre-window treatments, with “handsome hardwood floors covering large open spaces stretching nearly 6,000 square feet.” It was listed for $58,000 a month, a little more than the total cost of the curtains (priced at $29,900, according to the Times, the motors and hardware cost an additional $22,801). Meanwhile, under former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, funding for UN programs around the world had been slashed.
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A spokesman for Haley said that “plans to buy” the curtains were made during the Obama administration in 2016: “Ms. Haley had no say in the purchase,” he said. Installation was completed, however, in August of last year, during her UN tenure. They’re necessary, her spokesman furthered, because “all she’s got is a part-time maid, and the ability to open and close the curtains quickly is important.” Haley’s curtains can be added to a pantheon of friends of Trump expenditures including Ben Carson’s $31,000 dining set, Tom Price’s jet-setting, Scott Pruitt’s Ritz-Carlton hand lotion, Duncan Hunter’s tequila, steaks, and Hawaiian shorts, and Paul Manafort’s ostrich jacket—the list goes on, as do the Trump administration’s arguments that the United States can’t pay for much of its international aid work, or even forhealth care for all its residents. So, what gives? (Aside from perfectly mechanized draperies, that is.)
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