‘Calm before the storm': Trump makes cryptic remark at military dinner

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?"

“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.

RELATED: Photos from the military dinner

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Donald Trump attends briefing with senior military leaders
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Donald Trump attends briefing with senior military leaders
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 5: U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pose for pictures with senior military leaders and spouses after a briefing in the State Dining Room of the White House October 5, 2017 in Washington, D.C. The Trumps are hosting the group for a dinner in the Blue Room. (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 5: U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pose for pictures with senior military leaders and spouses, including including Gen. Joseph Dunford (R), chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and General Paul Selva (2nd L), vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, after a briefing in the State Dining Room of the White House October 5, 2017 in Washington, D.C. The Trumps are hosting the group for a dinner in the Blue Room. (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 5: U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pose for pictures with senior military leaders and spouses after a briefing in the State Dining Room of the White House October 5, 2017 in Washington, D.C. The Trumps are hosting the group for a dinner in the Blue Room. (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 5: U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pose for pictures with senior military leaders and spouses after a briefing in the State Dining Room of the White House October 5, 2017 in Washington, D.C. The Trumps are hosting the group for a dinner in the Blue Room. (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump, center left, and U.S. First Lady Melania Trump, center right, stand for an official photograph with senior military leaders and spouses including General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, right, and General Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, fourth left, in the State Dining room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. President Trump and the First Lady are hosting the group for dinner in the Blue Room of the White House. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US President Donald Trump smiles as Defense Secretary James Mattis (C) looks on during a meeting with senior military leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House on October 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump, center left, and U.S. First Lady Melania Trump, center right, stand for an official photograph with senior military leaders and spouses in the State Dining room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. President Trump and the First Lady are hosting the group for dinner in the Blue Room of the White House. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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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.” 

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