ShareThis Page

Trump talks of 'calm before the storm' at military dinner

| Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, 7:18 a.m.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, center, poses for a group photo with senior military leaders and spouses in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. Trump was hosting the dinner for the group. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, center, poses for a group photo with senior military leaders and spouses in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. Trump was hosting the dinner for the group. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Donald Trump, right, speaks during a briefing with senior military leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, left, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, center. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Donald Trump, right, speaks during a briefing with senior military leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, left, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, center. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump delivered a foreboding message, telling reporters as he posed for photos with his senior military leaders that this might be “the calm before the storm.”

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?

“You'll find out,” the president said.

He also praised those assembled for the photo, saying: “We have the world's great military people in this room, I will tell you that.”

Earlier in the evening, the president had lauded the group, including his defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and said they would be discussing the most pressing military issues facing the country, including North Korea and Iran.

Trump said “tremendous progress” had been made with respect to the Islamic State group, adding, “I guess the media's going to be finding out about that over the next short period of time.”

He also denounced Iran, saying the country should not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons, and offered another stark warning to North Korea's Kim Jong Un.

“We cannot allow this dictatorship to threaten our nation or allies with unimaginable loss of life,” he said, vowing to “do what we must do to prevent that from happening and it will be done, if necessary. Believe me.”

He also said that, moving forward, he expects those in the room to provide him with “a broad range of military options, when needed, at a much faster pace.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.