Accuracy in Media

Nikki Haley “is the latest White House big spender,”  Vogue reported Friday.

The magazine reported that the State Department reportedly spent more than $52,000 on curtains for her $58,000-per-month taxpayer-funded residence in New York City.

“Nikki Haley is the latest to join the ranks of those officials who apparently prefer things that come with high price tags (and at taxpayer expense),” the piece said.

The State Department endured a 25 percent budget cut, “but that didn’t stop the department from spending $52,701 to equip United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley’s penthouse with custom, mechanical window curtains,” Think Progress wrote.

“New curtains installed last year in the official residence of Nikki Haley … cost the Trump administration more than $50,000 at a time when the State Department was facing budget cuts and a hiring freeze,” MSN wrote.

“State Department Spent $52,701 on Curtains for Nikki Haley’s Residence,” read the New York Times headline, whose Gardiner Harris broke the story. Harris took care to note the curtains were the finishing touches on the new 6,000-square-foot residence for the ambassador with sweeping views of New York City.

The decision to move to the new residence was made during the Obama administration, however. Haley did not order the curtains. The Trump administration did not authorize the money for either.

“A spokesman for Ms. Haley said plans to buy the curtains were made in 2016, during the Obama administration,” the Times reported in the fourth paragraph of its story. “Ms. Haley had no say in the purchase, he said.”

But the story continued to paint this as a matter of excess by Haley.

“Installation took place from March to August of last year, during Ms. Haley’s tenure as ambassador,” the Times wrote. That was less than two months after the Trump administration took office and barely a month after Haley moved in.  

“Ms. Haley’s curtains are more expensive than the $31,000 dining room set purchased for the office of Ben Carson.” They are not Haley’s curtains, and, as the Times did admit, ambassadors are not cabinet secretaries.

“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 UN?” Brett Bruen, a White House official in the Obama administration, told the Times.

Patrick Kennedy, who was a management official in Obama’s State Department, said the curtains would be used for years and were needed for both security and entertainment purposes.

But the damage was done.

Haley is now included in the club of Trump administration officials the mainstream media has accused of taking advantage of their offices for material gain.

Vogue wrote: “If there’s one very appropriate pattern among Trump administration appointees and associates, it’s their penchant for big spending. (Trump, let’s remember, has a literally gold-plated New York residence.)

“The New York Times is reporting that Haley’s New York City apartment (near her workplace as United Nations ambassador) has $52,701 [in] ‘customized and mechanized curtains,’ which were purchased and paid for by the government despite a hiring freeze and other budget cuts at the UN.”

“Haley’s curtains can be added to a pantheon of Friends of Trump expenditures including Ben Carson’s $30,000 dining set, Tom Price’s jet-setting, Scott Pruitt’s Ritz-Carlton hand lotion, Duncan Hunter’s tequila, steaks, and Hawaiian shorts, Paul Manafort’s ostrich suits – the list goes on and, as do the Trump administration’s arguments that the United States can’t pay for much of its international aid work, or even health care for all its residence.”

It did not mention that Hunter is a congressman whose expenses did not involve Trump.

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