‘New York Times’ Misleads on Nikki Haley Expenditure of $52,701 on Office Curtains

A story published Thursday by The New York Times accused U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley of spending $52,701 on curtains for her office. But the truth is the spending plan was set in place at the end of the Obama era and well before Haley was appointed to the U.N. office.

On Friday morning, the so-called “paper of record” tweeted out a harsh accusation.

“The State Department spent $52,701 last year buying customized and mechanized curtains for Nikki Haley’s official residence,” the Times wrote, “just as the department was undergoing deep budget cuts and had frozen hiring.”

Such an expenditure does seem in stark contrast to the Trump administration’s claims that it wants to cut costs and rid the budget of unnecessary spending. If the paper’s story were true as presented, it would be a black eye for the Trump administration in general and ambassador Haley in particular.

However, even in its story, the Times debunks its own contention. In its sixth paragraph, the paper notes, “A spokesman for Ms. Haley said plans to buy the curtains were made in 2016, during the Obama administration. Ms. Haley had no say in the purchase, he said.”

Indeed, according to CNN’s Jake Tapper, it is not just a matter of “he said.” Tapper independently reported that the “meme” of an outrageous price tag for curtains is not a story that can be hung on Haley.

Tapper Tweeted that the story was a “false meme.” The CNN host went on to explain what really happened.

Elaborating, a source at the US Mission to the UN tells CNN: “It was decided, well before the election in 2016, that the US Ambassador’s residence would move from the Waldorf to its new location. The new location was unfurnished/unfinished. In June of 2016, it was decided that the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations would outfit the new residence (this is a standard operating procedure for Ambassadors’ residences across the globe). In July of 2016, the first site visit was complete, and the designer from OBO chose and ordered the curtains shortly thereafter (summer 2016). Also, SOP OBO does not personalize residences to individual Ambassador’s tastes.”

“So this was done under Barack Obama and Samantha Power?” Tapper said the source was asked.

“This isn’t about blaming Obama/Power,” the source then told CNN. “It’s SOP for outfitting Ambassadors’ Residences. The outfitting of the USUN residence just happened to start in 2016.”

Bottom line, per source: “Ambassador Haley had no choice in the location of the residence or what curtains were picked out that summer.”

UPDATE
The New York Times has affixed this note to its original article:

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 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.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com


About the author

Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston has been writing editorials and news since 2001 but started his writing career penning articles about U.S. history back in the early 1990s. Huston has appeared on Fox News, Fox Business Network, CNN, and several local Chicago News programs to discuss the issues of the day. Additionally, he is a regular guest on radio programs from coast to coast. Huston has also been a Breitbart News contributor since 2009. Warner works out of the Chicago area, a place he calls a "target rich environment" for political news.

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