During a dinner with military leaders tonight, President Trump gave an ominous warning seemingly out of the blue: "You guys know what this represents? Maybe it's the calm before the storm," he said: "It could be the calm... before... the storm."
A reporter quickly asked what the storm might be -"Is it Iran, ISIS, what's the storm?" to which he replied... "...you'll find out."
The warning took place during a photo-call on occasion of a dinner hosted for US military leaders and their wives, with Donald and Melania attending. Mid-way through photos, the President said to reporters: “You know what this represents? Maybe it’s the calm before the storm” an ominous, loaded phrase considering the context and the present company.
Pressed for details, the President replied: “We have the world’s great military leader in this room […] you’ll see”.
As the following clip shows, it is hard to know if this bluster from the President to impress his audience, or a concerning sign of things to come...
TRUMP: "Maybe it's the calm before the storm."— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 5, 2017
REPORTER: "What storm Mr. President?"
TRUMP: "You'll find out." (via Satellite News) pic.twitter.com/bWMzGrDPNa
Politico, which described the comments as cryptic and unprompted, was similarly clueless: “It was unclear what topics were discussed or what “storm” the president could be alluding to. But the White House summit with top national security officials comes as Trump weighs whether to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, a move that would hinder one of former President Barack Obama’s key diplomatic achievements.”
The full transcript, courtesy of a White House correspondent, was the following:
Good evening from your substitute pooler. Around 7:10 PM, after a travel/photo lid was called, White House staff hastily assembled the pool to cover a photo spray with military leaders and their spouses before a dinner with POTUS and FLOTUS.
POTUS made no news, but he did offer some cryptic remarks to the press corps.
Pool was led into the State Dining Room at 7:18 PM. A five-piece Marine Corps band positioned in the entrance hall played classical music. It was a piece of music your uncultured pooler did not recognize.
POTUS and FLOTUS stood side-by-side in the middle of more than a dozen couples who were lined up for an official photo. CJCS Dunford and his wife stood to their left. An unidentified military leader and his wife stood to POTUS' right.
"Tell us when youre ready," POTUS told the photographer. "Be careful, dont push.
"Our faces are tired," one of the spouses joked.
A couple of seconds later, POTUS pointed around the room and asked members of the pool, "you guys know what this represents?"
"Tell us," one reporter responded.
"Maybe its the calm before the storm," POTUS replied.
Whats the storm? another reporter asked. "On Iran? On ISIS? On what?
"We have the worlds great military people," POTUS replied. Thank you all for coming.
Kristen Welker of NBC News asked, what storm Mr. President?
"You'll find out," POTUS replied.
"Give us a hint on your Iran decision," another reporter asked.
POTUS said "thank you, everybody" and pool was ushered out of the room.