Politics & Government

Haley criticized for expensive curtains - after Obama administration picked them out

Following a United Nations Security Council meeting regarding corruption, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley is seen speaking at the Security Council stakeout at U.N. Headquarters in New York on September 10, 2018.
Following a United Nations Security Council meeting regarding corruption, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley is seen speaking at the Security Council stakeout at U.N. Headquarters in New York on September 10, 2018. Sipa USA via AP

UN ambassador and former SC Gov. Nikki Haley took some heat on Friday for expensive new curtains in her official residence — even though it was not her decision to have the drapes installed.

Haley faced criticism on Friday after the New York Times reported on a nearly $53,000 set of curtains for the UN ambassador’s new official residence.

That number includes $29,900 for the curtains for the picture windows of the Manhattan penthouse on First Avenue — which the Times notes has “spectacular views” and is “particularly grand since it is used for official entertaining.”

The motors and hardware needed to open and close them automatically cost an additional $22,801, according to State Department contracts cited by the Times.

The conservative Weekly Standard compiled a round up of criticism of Haley after the Times story ran, including calls for hearings on Haley’s curtains and even the ambassador’s resignation.

But critics of the Times were quick to point out Haley is not responsible for the expensive curtains — worth almost as much as the $58,000-a-month rent on the 6,000-square-foot space.

The Times’ own story says that plans to buy the mechanized curtains were made in 2016, during the Obama administration, according to a spokesman for Haley’s office. Haley had no say in the purchase, he said.

The previous administration moved the ambassador’s residence out of New York’s Waldorf Astoria, after the iconic hotel was bought by a Chinese company, raising security concerns.

The Times later amended the story with an editor’s note saying it had created an “unfair impression of who was responsible for the purchase.”

“The article should not have focused on Ms. Haley, nor should a picture of her have been used,” it said.

Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary to George W. Bush, said the coverage showed a “lack of ideological diversity” at the paper.

“It took conservatives on Twitter zero seconds to catch what was wrong,” Fleischer said, as cited on the conservative website The Blaze. “Newsrooms would benefit if they thought more like America.”

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