White House "Calm Before The Storm" Explanation Comes Up Short

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WASHINGTON (Alliance News) - The White House did little Friday to help clarify a cryptic comment by President Donald Trump that left many people in Washington wondering if he could be planning military action.

The confusion stemmed from a statement Trump made during a photo opportunity at the White House as he posed with military leaders and their spouses Thursday night.

"You guys know what this represents? Maybe it's the calm before the storm," Trump said. "We have the world's great military people in this room, I will tell you that. And uh, we're gonna have a great evening, thank you all for coming."

When asked again what he meant, Trump said only: "You'll find out."

The comments caused worry amid tensions with North Korea and following a hastily called news conference on Wednesday at which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson denied he was planning to resign.

Reporters at Friday's White House briefing repeatedly asked for clarification, with one questioning whether he was serious.

"I think you can take the president protecting the American people always extremely serious," spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said. "He's been very clear that that's his number one priority, and if he feels that action is necessary, he'll take it."

Pressed further, the spokeswoman stressed that neither she nor Trump would ever "lay out his game plan for our enemies" and told reporters they would have to wait and see what Trump meant.

"We're not going to announce what actions we'll be taking until that moment comes," she said.

She noted that the US was continuing to put maximum economic and diplomatic pressure on countries like North Korea and said that all options were still on the table. She also mentioned Iran.

"I think we've got a lot of bad actors in the world, North Korea, Iran," she said. "There's several examples there."

By Gretel Johnston

Copyright dpa