White House: World Will Have To ‘Wait And See’ About Trump Military Threat

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday refused to clarify President Donald Trump’s vague and ominous comment Thursday night, flanked by top-ranking military officials and their spouses in the White House, that the photo-op was the “calm before the storm” and that the American people would have to “wait and see” what he meant.

“We’re never going to say in advance what the President’s going to do and, as he said last night, in addition to those comments, you’ll have to wait and see,” Sanders said Friday.

The nighttime remark set off panic in foreign policy circles: Was Trump warning North Korea? Iran? Would military action be taken in Niger, where four American Green Berets were recently killed?

“I’m simply saying that all options are on the table, as they have been,” Sanders said later of the remark.

Asked about another remark made by Trump Thursday in a separate meeting, that senior military leaders needed to provide him “a broad range of military options, when needed, at a much faster pace,” Sanders was similarly vague.

“I don’t think you should read into anything beyond that as he wants options on the table so that he can make quick decisions,” she said.

Asked if the comment was in reference to any specific country, Sanders added: “I believe it was just a general comment. I’m not aware of anything specific that that was in reference to.”

She even joked about the comments, when CNN’s Jim Acosta asked if she found it “satisfying” that the President had the power to make people “hold their breath, in this town, when he says something like that.”

Sanders smiled. “Is that somewhat satisfying?” Acosta asked.

“No, I just picture people in this town actually holding their breath,” she said. “That might be a welcome surprise for most of America.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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