New curtains installed last year in the official residence of Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyHaley slams Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi for defending jailing of Reuters journalists Woodward book breaks 93-year publishing record The Hill's 12:30 Report — East coast braces for Florence | Trump, Pence mark 9/11 anniversary MORE, President TrumpDonald John TrumpSouth Carolina detention centers say it will not relocate inmates in mandatory evacuation zones Letitia James routs three Dems to win New York AG primary Trump slams Kerry for 'illegal' meetings with Iran MORE's ambassador to the U.N., 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 Haley'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 that the purchase decision was made during the Obama administration in 2016.
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.
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.
High-cost purchases made by other Cabinet secretaries have resulted in intense scrutiny during the Trump administration. A purchase made last year by Housing Secretary Ben Carson of a dining set for $31,000 nearly resulted in Carson's exit from the administration.