President Donald Trump responded to a call from LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham to finish nominating appointees to fill key government positions, saying in a tweet Tuesday that he is “not looking to fill all of those positions.”
Ingraham said, during an interview Tuesday on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” that the nation is “facing a crisis of confidence across the country,” as internal and external threats worsen and the Trump administration remains woefully understaffed. She and the show’s co-hosts noted that 117 of President Donald Trump’s administration appointees still need Senate confirmation. Only 106 of Trump’s nominees have been confirmed, and another 366 government positions still have nobody nominated at all.
And with now-Tropical Storm Harvey continuing to wreak havoc on Texas and the nuclear threat North Korea poses to the world still escalating, Ingraham said the time is now for Trump to make his nominations and increase pressure upon the balking Senate to confirm his appointees.
"We only have had a [Federal Emergency Management Agency] director since June. Now truth be told, the Trump administration didn't nominate [FEMA Director] Brock [Long] until April," she said. "I think we can all look at these horrific pictures, and we can conclude that a federal government does need staff. We see it acutely in need of staff in a situation like this."
"This isn't the only crisis we're facing," Ingraham added. "We're also facing a huge crisis with North Korea. We're facing a crisis of confidence across the country where people wonder even with President Trump in — he said he was going to drain the swamp — can we have a government that works for the people and not just have a people enslaved to the government?"
While Texas continues to grapple with Harvey and prepares for years of recovery, North Korea took its aggression one step further and fired a ballistic missile over Japan. Although Trump said that "all options are on the table" following North Korea's move, key positions in his staff remain unfilled, including a permanent secretary of Homeland Security. And the president doesn't appear to be in a rush to finish his nominations and apply pressure to the Senate.
"This is a question that has to be posed to the administration. I know they have a lot on their hands, but we have to have people in place," Ingraham said. "If there's a plan to not staff and cause the ultimate shrinkage of government, then let's hear about that as well. But at Homeland Security, at FEMA, at the U.S. trade representative's office where they're doing the huge renegotiation of NAFTA … that's a massive undertaking."
In a direct response to Ingraham, Trump tweeted Tuesday, "[email protected] We are not looking to fill all of those positions. Don't need many of them - reduce size of government. @IngrahamAngle."
Ingraham also urged the Trump administration to respond to the Change.org petition calling for the president to declare the violent left-wing Antifa group to be a terrorist organization. Antifa members reportedly attacked peaceful right-wing demonstrators in Berkeley, California, over the weekend in incidents caught on film.
"Even when [The Washington Post] wrote about [Antifa], they had to say, well, the right-wing protesters were there. But this patriot prayer group — as far as I can tell — is not, I don't believe it's a white supremacist group," she said. "I don't know who else was there. But they were not the ones causing the trouble."
"And imagine if the roles were reversed here and it was any type of conservative group that was taking bats and pepper spray to peaceful liberal left-wing protesters?" Ingraham added. "Imagine that story. It wouldn't have been on Page A3 of The Washington Post."
Noting that Antifa's violent quest to squelch free speech from its ideological opponents is "scary," she urged her listeners "to consider pressing this idea of declaring Antifa a terrorist organization."
"There are lots of different ways to act against this disparate group called Antifa," Ingraham said. "There is a way to pursue this, and I hope this administration is looking at this very carefully, because people could die here."
"We could have the same thing happen again," she added, referencing the deadly Charlottesville rally. "And apparently, other than a few news outlets, no one's really taking this all that seriously."
Ingraham also called out Democratic Party leaders for failing to denounce Antifa and its violent tactics while being all too ready to dubiously tie Trump to right-wing white supremacists without a second thought.
"They're volunteering all of this condemnation joyfully against President Trump post-Charlottesville. They piled on him as fast as possible after Charlottesville. OK, they can make whatever comment they want about that. That's their prerogative," she said. "But this is on videotape. [Antifa] is trying actively to intimidate, suppress free speech, and violently attack people with whom they disagree."
"[House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi, [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer, you know, we're waiting for the condemnation," Ingraham added. "Barack Obama, all these other people who — how about the Bushes? Have the Bushes commented about Antifa? I'd like to hear them on that."