WASHINGTON — The day was supposed to be over – at least, that’s what the White House communications staff told reporters Thursday evening as President Trump retired to the State Dining Room for dinner with his top military commanders.

Then, unexpectedly, the president summoned them back into action. At 7:18 p.m., reporters were led into the room where the military’s senior leaders and their spouses were lined up with the president and first lady Melania Trump for a formal group photo.

“You guys know what this represents?” Trump said gesturing to the commanders around him.

He dramatically paused and then said: “Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.”

“What’s the storm?” a reporter called out, as the officials and their spouses continued to pose, their faces frozen in toothy smiles, even as many of their eyes began to dart around the room.

“Could be the calm before the storm,” the president said.

It felt like the opening scene of an action movie – the president, stiffly rotating from side to side, surveying the country’s military leaders and providing an ominous hint that something would soon unfold. He wouldn’t say what, but it seemed clear that it wouldn’t be anything good. Maybe something involving North Korea or the Islamic State terrorist organization or Iran or who knows what else.

Or maybe not – maybe this was just the showman president grabbing the day’s narrative and providing viewers with a reason to keep tuning in, even if there was no plan for an actual storm. Media pundits spent much of the day Friday trying to guess what he meant.

“I think this is a president who is living in a constant reality TV show,” said Timothy O’Brien, a journalist who wrote “TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald” in 2005. “He loves the notion of ‘Tune in next week for the next exciting installation of ‘The White House,’ an ongoing reality show and national psychodrama.'”