UPDATED: State Dept spent more than $52K on ambassador’s apartment curtains

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New curtains installed last year in the official residence of Nikki Haley, President Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, cost the Trump administration more than $50,000 at a time when the State Department was facing budget cuts and a hiring freeze.

The New York Times reports that the curtains, installed last year in UN ambassador’s New York residence, cost $29,000, while a motorized opener for the curtains cost another $22,801.

While the installation occurred during Haley’s tenure as ambassador, a spokesman told the Times, which later updated its story, that the purchase decision was made during the Obama administration in 2016.

{mosads}Patrick Kennedy, a top State Department official under the Obama administration, defended the purchase to the Times, noting that Haley only has one part-time staffer at the residence.

“All she’s got is a part-time maid, and the ability to open and close the curtains quickly is important,” Kennedy told the newspaper.

On Friday afternoon, after reviewing the story, the Times said it had made a mistake in putting an emphasis on Haley.

In an editor’s note attached to the end of the story, it said: “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 note said. “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.”

An earlier version of this story in The Hill also had a photo of Haley, which has since been removed.

Though Kennedy defended the purchase, other Obama-era officials were more critical, questioning why such a purchase was made when the agency faced budget cuts.

“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, an Obama White House aide.

—Updated at 2:47 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump New York Nikki Haley Nikki Haley Obama administration State Department Trump administration U.N.

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