As President Trump posed for a formal photo with his top military commanders and their spouses in the State Dining Room at the White House on Thursday evening, Trump pointed to the leaders gathered around him and asked the small group of reporters standing before him: “You guys know what this represents?”
“Tell us,” shouted out one of the reporters unexpectedly summoned to witness this photo session.
“Maybe it’s the calm before the storm,” the president replied.
Reporters asked the president what he was talking about, what storm was coming.
“Could be the calm before the storm,” he said a second time.
Earlier in the evening, the White House communications team had told reporters that the president would not make any more appearances that day — but then, around 7:10 p.m., those who happened to still be at the White House were summoned to the State Dining Room to briefly witness the photo-taking session.
And it was there that they found themselves asking again and again: What storm?
A storm involving Iran? (After all, The Washington Post reported earlier in the day that Trump plans to announce next week that he will “decertify” the international nuclear deal with Iran, kicking the issue to a reluctant Congress.) A storm involving Islamic State terrorists? What storm?
Trump grew quiet and smiled broadly as cameras clicked.
“What storm, Mr. President?” a reporter called out.
“We have the world’s great military people in this room, I will tell you that,” Trump said in a loud but calm tone.
He then looked down the rows of people standing on either side of him and said: “Thank you all for coming, thank you.”
One of the reporters again asked: “What storm, Mr. President?”
He responded: “You’ll find out.”
The reporters were then led out of the room, after having been there for just one minute.