President Donald Trump made a series of cryptic remarks during a pre-dinner photo session with his top military advisers and their spouses Thursday night in the State Dining Room of the White House.
As photographers snapped pictures and recorded video, Trump asked reporters: "You guys know what this represents?"gi
"Maybe it's the calm before the storm," he said, answering his own question.
"What's the storm?" one reporter asked.
"Could be the calm before the storm," he repeated.
It was not immediately clear whether Trump was referring to one of a handful of thorny military or foreign policy areas — North Korea, the fight against ISIS, Iran's nuclear program, or the recent deaths of three U.S. soldiers in Niger — or simply making a joke about the dinner to follow.
"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."
"What storm, Mr. President?" NBC News' Kristen Welker asked again.
"You'll find out," Trump replied, before reporters were ushered out of the room.
NBC News has reached out to the White House for comment.
In remarks to military leaders at the event, Trump thanked them and spoke of "pressing national security issues facing our country," according to an official White House transcript.
"Recently, we have had challenges that we really should have taken care of a long time ago, like North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, ISIS, and the revisionist powers that threaten our interests all around the world," Trump said.
"Tremendous progress has been made with respect to ISIS, and I guess the media is going to be finding out about that over the next short period of time."
The mystery continued into Friday. Trump, asked again during a brief session with U.S. manufacturers what he meant the night before, said only that "you'll find out" and winked.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wouldn't comment on what Trump meant either.
"As we've said many times before...we're never going to say in advance what the president is going to do," she said during a press briefing Friday. "You'll have to wait and see."
"You can take the president protecting the American people very seriously," Sanders added. "And if he feels that action is necessary, he'll take it."