An administration official said the decision to move was made at the White House’s initiative, apparently because the Waldorf was bought last year by a Chinese company. It was unclear whether the move reflected displeasure with suspicions that Chinese hackers recently hacked into personnel files of millions of federal workers or whether there were other concerns about Chinese snooping.
As we noted in October, the news that an insurance company in Communist China (as we used to say) had bought the aging Waldorf Astoria for $2 billion raised a few eyebrows at the State Department.
Washington has leased the hotel’s penthouse suite for more than a half-century as the home of the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, now Samantha Power. It would seem she too may have to relocate and forego that $600,000 kitchen we wrote about back in 2003.
Last fall, State Department sources noted “some indication” that the hotel would continue to be run by the prior owners, Hilton Worldwide Holdings, which might mitigate a need to move out.
But they said then that concerns about a likely renovation (which was then announced in February) as well as security issues would be a factor in any decision to stay.