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Trump poses with senior military leaders and their spouses. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

"Trump, during photo shoot, talks of 'calm before the storm,'" by AP's Jill Colvin: "Trump delivered a foreboding message [last] night, telling reporters as he posed for photos with his senior military leaders that this might be 'the calm before the storm.'"

Between the lines: The commander-in-chief is pondering several high-stakes national-security decisions that we could hear about soon. But part of this may simply be the president's instinct for drama and photos that make him look strong, love of cliffhangers, and joy in flummoxing the press.

More:

  • "White House reporters were summoned suddenly ... and told the president had decided he wanted the press to document a dinner he was holding with the military leaders and their wives."
  • "Reporters were led hastily to the grand State Dining Room, where they walked into a scene of the president, his highest-ranking military aides and their wives posing for a group photo. The cameras clicked and they smiled. ... Live classical music played."
  • "Then, Trump gestured to the reporters in the room. 'You guys know what this represents?' Trump asked. 'Maybe it's the calm before the storm.'"
  • "What storm, Mr. President?" one reporter shouted. "ISIS? North Korea? Iran?"
  • Trump replied: "You'll find out."

Extra from Axios' Jonathan Swan, who says there's a "high degree of probability that [Trump is] trolling everyone."

Go deeper

Cold December as safety nets expire

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Safety nets are likely to be yanked from underneath millions of vulnerable Americans in December, as the coronavirus surges.

Why it matters: Those most at risk are depending on one or more relief programs that are set to expire, right as the economic recovery becomes more fragile than it's been in months.

15 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

17 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.