State Department Spent $52701 on Curtains for Nikki Haleys Residence

State Department Spent $52701 on Curtains for Nikki Haley\s Residence

State Department Spent $52,701 on Curtains for Nikki Haleys Residence

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is drawing criticism over curtains in her official residence costing nearly $53,000 — purchased amid deep budget cuts in the State Department. Trouble is, the purchase was approved in 2016, under the Obama administration.

The New York Times reported this week that $52,701 was spent last year on buying customized and mechanized curtains for the picture windows in Haleys New York City residence, for which rent is $58,000 a month.

But the paper didnt mention until the sixth paragraph that Haleys spokesman said the Trump administration had no input in the purchase decision.

Some members of the Trump administration have gotten in hot water for their extravagant spending, including Ben Carsons infamous $31,000 dining table. But one of the biggest scandals of this era is that President Trump himself is directly profiting from the presidency. At least $16.1 million has been spent by government and campaign agencies at businesses managed by the Trump Organization since late 2015. And thats just the money we know about.

"How can you, on the one hand, tell diplomats that basic needs cannot be met and, on the other hand, spend more than $50,000 on a customized curtain system for the ambassador to the U.N.?"

The curtains themselves cost $29,900, while the motors and hardware needed to open and close them automatically cost $22,801, according to the contracts. Installation took place from March to August of last year, during Ms. Haleys tenure as ambassador.

How can you, on the one hand, tell diplomats that basic needs cannot be met and, on the other hand, spend more than $50,000 on a customized curtain system for the ambassador to the U.N.? Brett Bruen, a White House official in the Obama administration, told the Times.

When @nikkihaleys not busy rejecting the idea of universal human rights, shes busy spending $52,701 of US tax payer money on curtains for her residence. Milk the people, screw the world. Fine priorities you got there, Andrew Stroehlein, Human Rights Watchs European Media Director, wrote in a tweet.

The New York Times under fire for report on Nikki Haleys curtains

The curtains themselves reportedly cost nearly $30,000 but the hardware needed to operate them cost an additional $22,801. The curtains were installed last year.

The New York Times reported that the State Department spent $52,701 for “customized and mechanized curtains” in U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s apartment. However, five paragraphs into the story, Ms. Haley’s spokesman revealed that the plans originated during the Obama administration.

Patrick Kennedy, the top management official at the State Department during the Obama administration, defended the spending, saying the curtains will be used by future officials and cited security and entertainment purposes.

All shes got is a part-time maid, and the ability to open and close the curtains quickly is important, Kennedy told the newspaper.

The State Department, under former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, had frozen hiring, reduced diplomatic staff and proposed cutting the departments budget by 31 percent.

The curtains are only the latest garish purchase using taxpayer money to mark the Trump administration while officials were simultaneously cutting budgets for programs that serve the American people. HUD Secretary Ben Carson spent $31,000 on a dining room set while slashing affordable housing programs (and lied about whether he and his wife picked out the furniture themselves). Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spent $139,000 on a door while cutting the department’s budget and trying to lay off 4,000 people. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spent $800,000 over a seven-month period to travel on military aircraft, including a round-trip to New York that cost $15,000.

WASHINGTON — The State Department spent $52,701 last year buying customized and mechanized curtains for the picture windows in Nikki R. Haleys official residence as ambassador to the United Nations, just as the department was undergoing deep budget cuts and had frozen hiring.

The residence, in a new building on First Avenue, has spectacular views, and Ms. Haley is the first ambassador to live in it. For decades, her predecessors lived in the Waldorf Astoria hotel. But after the hotel was purchased by a Chinese insurance company with a murky ownership structure, the State Department decided in 2016 to find a new home for its top New York diplomat because of security concerns.

A spokesman for Haley insisted that the plans to buy the curtains were made in 2016 during the Obama administration and that Haley herself had no say in the purchase. But the purchase and installation occurred last year — after former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had already frozen hiring and pushed out many senior diplomats.

The government leased the apartment, just blocks from the delegations offices, with an option to buy, according to Patrick Kennedy, the top management official at the State Department during the Obama administration. The full-floor penthouse, with handsome hardwood floors covering large open spaces stretching nearly 6,000 square feet, was listed at $58,000 a month.

Brett Bruen, who served in the White House under President Obama, scoffed at the disconnect. “How can you, on the one hand, tell diplomats that basic needs cannot be met and, on the other hand, spend more than $50,000 on a customized curtain system for the ambassador to the U.N.?” he told the New York Times.

A spokesman for Ms. Haley said plans to buy the curtains were made in 2016, during the Obama administration. Ms. Haley had no say in the purchase, he said.

How can you, on the one hand, tell diplomats that basic needs cannot be met and, on the other hand, spend more than $50,000 on a customized curtain system for the ambassador to the U.N.? Brett Bruen, a White House official in the Obama administration, said of his own administrations decision.

While ambassadors around the world are given residences, there are only two such residences in the United States — one for Ms. Haley and the other for her deputy.

The apartment, which is located in a new building just blocks from the delegation offices, is leased by the government, and Haley is the first ambassador to live in it, said Patrick Kennedy, a State Department management official under Obama.

Ms. Haleys residence is particularly grand since it is used for official entertaining. But her deputys is also very nice, having served as the location for Secretary of State Mike Pompeos intimate steak dinner in May with Kim Yong-chol, North Koreas top nuclear weapons negotiator. During the dinner, Mr. Pompeo used its sweeping views to point out various features of New York Citys skyline to the senior official from the worlds most reclusive country.

The New York Times wrote about the pricey window treatment on Thursday, and while it appeared to pin the blame on the Trump administration, it said in the middle of the story that the purchase was made a few years back.

Rubio defends Haley over curtains story: Example of media pushing bias | TheHill

The curtains themselves cost $29,900, while the motors and hardware needed to open and close them automatically cost $22,801, according to the contracts. Installation took place from March to August of last year, during Ms. Haleys tenure as ambassador.

Although the selection and purchase of the curtains were made during the Obama administration, installation took place from March to August of 2017, while Haley was serving as ambassador.

Ms. Haleys curtains are more expensive than the $31,000 dining room set purchased for the office of Ben Carson, the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That purchase became so controversial that President Trump considered firing Mr. Carson, though the spending rules covering agency chiefs are different from those for ambassadors.

The expensive curtains come as others in the Trump administration have faced criticism for high-cost expenses. Housing Secretary Ben Carson spent $31,000 on a dining set last year, and former EPA chief Scott Pruitts security costs totaled $3.5 million over 12 months for services that included having staff pick up his dry-cleaning and driving him to multiple Ritz-Carlton hotels to find a particular moisturizing lotion.

While Ms. Haleys curtains were being ordered and installed, Rex W. Tillerson, the administrations first secretary of state, had frozen hiring, pushed out many of the departments most senior diplomats and proposed cutting the departments budget by 31 percent. In embassies around the world, projects were eliminated, jobs were left unfilled and the delegation to last years United Nations General Assembly meeting was slashed.

The New York Times reports curtains were installed last year in Haleys New York residence on First Avenue, featuring “spectacular views” of NYC. The curtains themselves cost $29,900, while the motors and hardware needed to open and close them automatically cost $22,801, according to contracts obtained by the newspaper.

NYT: Can you believe Nikki Haleys state-funded residence is getting $52,000 curtains?*

How can you, on the one hand, tell diplomats that basic needs cannot be met and, on the other hand, spend more than $50,000 on a customized curtain system for the ambassador to the U.N.? asked Brett Bruen, a White House official in the Obama administration.

Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, is the first U.S. ambassador to the UN to live in the residence. The Times reports her predecessors lived in the Waldorf Astoria hotel, but security concerns arose in 2016 after the hotel was purchased by a Chinese insurance company “with a murky ownership structure.”

But Mr. Kennedy defended the purchase, saying that it would probably be used for years and that it was needed for both security and entertaining purposes.

All shes got is a part-time maid, and the ability to open and close the curtains quickly is important, Mr. Kennedy said.

Mr. Pompeo will soon receive government housing himself, after the Defense Department agreed to rent him a flag officers home on a military base in the Washington area. The State Department said the unusual move would save on security costs. Mr. Pompeo is one of the few members of Mr. Trumps cabinet of modest means.

While the State Department would not say where Mr. Pompeos house would be located, a United States official and a former top State Department official said he would live at Fort Myer, a small Army post near Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.


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