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Citing a need to prioritize “the efficient use of taxpayer resources,” President Trump proposed earlier this year a 25 percent cut to the State Department budget. But that didn’t stop the department from spending $52,701 to equip United National Ambassador Nikki Haley’s penthouse with custom mechanical window curtains.
The expenditure, first reported by the New York Times, includes $29,900 for the curtains themselves and $22,801 for the motors and hardware that allows them to be opened and closed automatically.
The U.S. government pays for gigantic New York City apartments for both Haley and her deputy to live in; Haley’s 6000-square foot full-floor penthouse in a new building listed at $58,000 a month when the government leased it. They serve as both residences and spaces for entertaining diplomatic guests.
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.
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.
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