President Donald Trump early Tuesday tweeted that he won't be filling many positions that have remained empty in the government, responding directly to conservative columnist Laura Ingraham's comments about the numerous vacancies.
His tweet popped up minutes after Ingraham questioned the lack of staff and nominations during an interview on Fox News' "Fox and Friends."
"We're facing a confidence of crisis across the country," Ingraham said on the program, acknowledging that Trump had promised to "drain the swamp."
However, she pointed out, Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Brock Long only has been in office since June, and he wasn't nominated until April.
"That wasn't a bad turnaround, but I think we can all look at these horrific pictures [in Texas] and we can conclude that federal government does need staff," Ingraham continued. "We see it acutely the need of staff in a situation like this."
The United States also is facing a "huge crisis" with North Korea, Ingraham said.
There are currently 366 positions in the administration that have no nominees, said Fox News' Brian Kilmeade. Another 106 have had their nominations confirmed, and 117 have been nominated but not confirmed.
"This is a question that has to be posed to the administration," said Ingraham. "I know they have a lot on their hands, but we have to have people in place. If there's a plan to not staff, and cause the ultimate shrinkage of government, then let's hear about that as well."
There are many other key department posts that need filled, including in homeland security, FEMA, and at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer "where they're doing that huge renegotiation of NAFTA," Ingraham said.
"You know Bob does not have a permanent deputy in place," Ingraham said of Lighthizer. "He does not have a team of people right underneath him who are permanent for this administration. That's a massive undertaking and you know, they're doing it with a much smaller staff, and it's really, it's not ideal."
Ingraham also commented about Trump's trip to Texas and Louisiana on Tuesday, saying that she does not think there was a "real ability" to plan for a massive event like Hurricane Harvey.
"I happened to be in Corpus Christi on Wednesday night, and they were going about the planning of the storm in a very methodical way, but they didn't know it was going to be this big," Ingraham said. "They thought it could be a bad storm, but not this big. And my friends in Houston never thought they were going to have to evacuate. And then they evacuated on Saturday to another location that itself is now being flooded. So with all the plans, the best of the plans out there, you really can't criticize anyone for this."
The response among volunteers, though, has shown "a cohesiveness and an identity and a spirit that is uniquely Texan," Ingraham said. "There is something about Texas where people pull together in a very unique and inspiring way."
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