The curtains cost $52,701.
U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley's curtains for her swanky, taxpayer-funded New York City apartment cost more than the average household in her home state of South Carolina earns in an entire year. They also cost more than the total income reported by millions of American households.
According to the New York Times, the State Department "spent $52,701 last year buying customized and mechanized curtains for the picture windows" in Haley's New York City apartment. "All she's got is a part-time maid, and the ability to open and close the curtains quickly is important," one official told the Times, echoing the concerns of teachers working two jobs to make ends meet.
A State Department spokesperson claims that plans to purchase the curtains were made during President Obama's tenure. But the Trump administration has certainly not felt compelled to honor the plans of the Obama administration. Otherwise, the massive sabotage of the Affordable Care Act would have been off the table.
In fact, at the same time the Trump team was installing the curtains, then-Secretary Rex Tillerson proposed slashing the State Department budget by 31 percent.
The hypocrisy riled Brian Bruen, a White House official in the Obama administration. "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.?" he asked the Times.
The extravagant spending habits of Trump administration have been a constant source of scandal during Trump's short tenure in the White House. His first Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, resigned in disgrace after multiple instances of improper spending on travel. Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt also resigned amid multiple scandals involving his inappropriate spending and other unethical practices.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson spent more than $30,000 on a dining room set, but has so far refused to resign. Mike Pence wasted thousands of dollars on a photo op so that he could be captured huffing out of an NFL game after players protested racial inequality.
If anyone is curious what $50,000 curtains look like, curtains are visible in a photo posted by Haley in December 2017. Perhaps they will bring a small measure of comfort to the two million people poised to lose food stamps because of the Trump-backed Republican farm bill.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.