Donald Trump still won’t tell anyone what he meant when he called a dinner with military commanders “the calm before the storm” earlier this month.
Fox News host Sean Hannity brought up the phrase Wednesday during his interview with Trump. Many have interpreted Trump to have been talking about a potential military campaign against North Korea.
Hannity asked about “Rocket Man,” using Trump’s name for North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un before responding to laughs from the audience by indicating Trump and saying “his phrase.” At that point, Trump’s answers got a little confusing.
“We can’t let this to go on. We just can’t,” Trump said. “Now you can say what you want, this should have been handled 25 years ago, it should have been handled 20 years ago and 10 years ago and five years, it should have been handled by numerous — not just Obama, but President Obama should have taken care of it.
He then went on to talk about how his administration has pushed for an increase in military spending, saying the U.S. position was “very strong.”
“I’ve been building up the military like nobody’s ever seen, we’re close to $800 billion in spending,” Trump said. “I don’t know if you know this, our military was totally, you know really depleted, you look around and you see what’s going on, take a look at what we’re buying with the jet fighters and all of the equipment we’re buying.”
When Hannity pressed Trump for any specifics, though, the president refused to give them. Hannity asked how the situation with Kim might end if North Korea continued to test and fire missiles over Japan and South Korea. Trump returned to a talking point he’d brought up numerous times during his campaign, mentioning the fact he doesn’t think the U.S. should talk about potential military actions before taking them because it might tip off the enemy. He referenced Mosul, the Iraqi city occupied by ISIS, and how President Barack Obama had discussed military actions in the city before they’d taken place.
“I’m not saying anything,” Trump said about the future with North Korea. “I don’t want to say anything to you, I don’t want to talk about it because all these people that talk — I remember with Mosul, I use this all the time, I remember with Mosul ‘We are going to be attacking Mosul in four months, we’re going to be attacking Mosul in three months.’ By the way, it turned out to be hell on wheels. It was hard because they were so totally prepared. I’m not saying I’m doing anything, and I’m not saying I’m not. We shouldn’t be talking about it.”
Hannity pushed Trump one last time, asking, “Calm before the storm: You’re not going to talk about it?”
“No, I’m not gonna talk about it,” Trump answered.