WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump delivered a foreboding message, telling reporters as he posed for photos with senior military leaders that this might be "the calm before the storm."
The president refused Friday to elaborate on what he meant, saying simply, "You'll find out."
White House reporters were summoned suddenly Thursday evening and told the president had decided he wanted the press to document a dinner he was holding with the military leaders and their wives.
Reporters were led hastily to the grand State Dining Room, where they walked into a scene of the president, his highest-ranking military aides and their wives posing for a group photo. The cameras clicked, and they smiled. A joke was made about someone's face being tired. Live classical music played.
Then, Trump gestured to the reporters in the room.
"You guys know what this represents?" Trump asked. "Maybe it's the calm before the storm. Could be the calm, the calm before the storm."
"What storm, Mr. President?" one reporter shouted. ISIS? North Korea? Iran?
Trump would not say. Nor would he clarify the next day during a gathering of manufacturers at the White House, once again teasing that an announcement would be forthcoming down the road.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also declined to elaborate, saying Friday, "We're never going to say in advance what the president will do."
She also denied that Trump was simply being mischievous in an effort to mislead reporters.
During the military dinner, Trump praised those assembled for the photo, saying: "We have the world's great military people in this room, I will tell you that."