The U.S. State Department purchased $52,700 “customized and mechanized” curtains for a luxury apartment that was being used by Nikki Haley. The apartment is located across the street from the United Nations building in Manhattan.
The report, released on Thursday, shows that the State Department purchased the curtains to cover windows in her 6,000 square-foot penthouse located on First Avenue, according to the New York Times.
A spokesperson for Haley claims the decision to acquire the curtains were made by someone in the Obama administration, a sentiment that was shared by Fox News. However, a Twitter thread from CNN’s Jake Tapper notes that these decisions are a standard operating procedure (SOP).
“This isn't about blaming Obama/Power,” the source says. “It's SOP for outfitting Ambassadors' Residences. The outfitting of the USUN residence just happened to start in 2016…
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 14, 2018
Congressman Ted Lieu disagreed in a tweet that shared how some ambassadors pay their own expenses, and others, like Haley, have the state pick up the bill.
Why did @StateDept pay over $50k for mechanized curtains for at least one Ambassador but not for others? Should the State Department be paying this much for mechanized curtains? https://t.co/dqsZIxcrej
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) September 14, 2018
The actual curtains cost $29,900 and the motorized function added another $22,801.
Installation on the curtains began in March and ended in August 2017, when Haley was serving as ambassador.
What’s rather astounding about the timing of the purchase and installation is that the New York Post notes that the money was spent when former Secretary Rex Tillerson had placed a hiring freeze at the State Department and had issued funding cuts.
After a Chinese company purchased the Waldorf-Astoria the State Department said the building was unfit for occupancy over security concerns. Haley was the first UN ambassador to live in the building since the acquisition.
Haley’s apartment rents for $58,000 per month, a cost that is being paid for by U.S. taxpayers. The penthouse is used both as a personal residence and a space for entertaining diplomatic guests.