State Department Spent $52,701 on Curtains for Residence of U.N. Envoy

Editors’ Note: September 14, 2018

An earlier type of This kind of article as well as also headline created an unfair impression about who was responsible for the purchase in question. While Nikki R. Haley is usually the current ambassador to the United Nations, the decision on leasing the ambassador’s residence as well as also purchasing the curtains was made during the Obama administration, according to current as well as also former officials. The article should not have focused on Ms. Haley, nor should a picture of her have been used. The article as well as also headline have at This kind of point been edited to reflect those concerns, as well as also the picture has been removed.

WASHINGTON — The State Department spent $52,701 for customized as well as also mechanized curtains for the picture windows from the brand new official residence of the ambassador to the United Nations.

The residence is usually in a brand new building on First Avenue in Manhattan. For decades, American ambassadors to the U.N. lived from the Waldorf Astoria hotel. although after the hotel was purchased by a Chinese insurance company which has a murky ownership structure, the State Department decided in 2016 to find a brand new home for its top brand new York diplomat because of security concerns.

The government leased the apartment, just blocks coming from the delegation’s offices, with an option to buy, according to Patrick Kennedy, the top management official at the State Department during the Obama administration. The full-floor penthouse, with handsome hardwood floors covering large open spaces stretching nearly 6,000 square feet, was listed at $58,000 a month.

The current ambassador, Nikki R. Haley, is usually the first to live from the brand new residence, which has spectacular views. although a spokesman for Ms. Haley emphasized that will plans to buy the mechanized curtains were made in 2016, during the Obama administration. Ms. Haley had no say from the purchase, he said.

While ambassadors around the planet are given residences, there are only two such residences from the United States — for the U.N. ambassador as well as also the deputy ambassador.

The ambassador’s brand new residence is usually particularly grand since the item is usually used for official entertaining. although her deputy’s is usually also very nice, having served as the location for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s intimate steak dinner in May with Kim Yong-chol, North Korea’s top nuclear weapons negotiator. During the dinner, Mr. Pompeo used its sweeping views to point out various features of brand new York City’s skyline to the senior official coming from the planet’s most reclusive country.

The brand new curtains themselves cost $29,900, while the motors as well as also hardware needed to open as well as also close them automatically cost $22,801, according to the contracts. Installation took place coming from March to August of last year, during Ms. Haley’s tenure as ambassador.

The brand new curtains are more expensive than the $31,000 dining room set purchased for the office of Ben Carson, the secretary of the Department of Housing as well as also Urban Development. that will purchase became so controversial that will President Trump considered firing Mr. Carson, though the spending rules covering agency chiefs are different coming from those for ambassadors.

Rex W. Tillerson, the Trump administration’s first secretary of state, froze hiring, pushed out many of the department’s most senior diplomats as well as also proposed cutting the department’s budget by 31 percent. In embassies around the planet, projects were eliminated as well as also jobs were left unfilled, as well as also the delegation to last year’s United Nations General Assembly meeting was slashed.

“How can you, on the one hand, tell diplomats that will basic needs cannot be met as well as also, on the some other hand, spend more than $50,000 on a customized curtain system for the ambassador to the U.N.?” asked Brett Bruen, a White House official from the Obama administration.

although Mr. Kennedy, his colleague coming from the Obama administration, defended the purchase, saying that will the item would certainly probably be used for years as well as also that will the item was needed for both security as well as also entertaining purposes.

“All she’s got is usually a part-time maid, as well as also the ability to open as well as also close the curtains quickly is usually important,” Mr. Kennedy said.

Mr. Pompeo will soon receive government housing himself, after the Defense Department agreed to rent him a flag officer’s home on a military base from the Washington area. The State Department said the unusual move would certainly save on security costs. Mr. Pompeo is usually one of the few members of Mr. Trump’s cabinet of modest means.

While the State Department would certainly not say where Mr. Pompeo’s house would certainly be located, a United States official as well as also a former top State Department official said he would certainly live at Fort Myer, a modest Army post near Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.