Trump Suggests a Foreign Policy "Storm" Is Coming

Last night, following a meeting at the White House with military leaders, Donald Trump gave a brief, typically aggressive, prepared statement to pool reporters. Then, as Josh Marshall reports: "The White House then announced that press appearances were done for the day. Then roughly an hour later, a pool reporter was again called in for another by the President and the military leaders. As the pool reporter put it, 'White House staff hastily assembled the pool to cover a photo spray with military leaders and their spouses before a dinner with POTUS and FLOTUS.'"

It was during that photo session that Trump then said something incredibly troubling:

TRUMP: You guys know what this represents?

REPORTER 1 [man; off-camera]: Tell us, sir.

TRUMP: Maybe it's the calm before the storm.

REPORTER 2 [man; off-camera]: What's the storm?

TRUMP: Could be — the calm before the storm.

REPORTER 3: [woman; off-camera] On Iran? On ISIS? On what?

REPORTER 4: [woman; off-camera] What storm, Mr. President?

TRUMP: We have the world's great military people in this room, I will tell you that. And we're going to have a great evening. Thank you all for coming. Thank you.

REPORTER 4: What storm, Mr. President?

TRUMP: You'll find out.

REPORTER 5: [man; off-camera] Give us a hint on your Iran decision.

TRUMP: Thank you, everybody.

[reporters shout questions as they are ushered out of the room; Trump gives the thumbs-up]
Everything about that is horrendous, even down to the precise choice of words: A "storm" is a profoundly insensitive metaphor given the devastation caused by storms in the southern U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

But irrespective of the precise words he used, Trump's entire premise is profoundly disturbing. He is promising a "storm," at a meeting of military leaders, with zero specifics.

The role of the president is to be reassuring and diplomatic; it is not to be vaguely ominous in a way that suggests the "storm" is brewing because he's about to make it rain.

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