Trump was speaking before a planned dinner with military leaders and their spouses.
Trump was expected to announce the decision in a speech, tentatively scheduled for this Thursday, detailing a broader strategy for dealing with a nation his administration say supports terrorism and sows chaos in the Mideast. The cameras clicked and they smiled.
"Our faces are exhausted", one of the spouses joked.
Classical music played in the background and tables were set in the nearby Blue Room for a fancy meal.
Then, Trump gestured to the reporters in the room.
The president addressed the reporters and said, "You guys know what this represents?" Trump asked. "Maybe it's the calm before the storm.
President Trump is expected to roll out a broader United States strategy on Iran that would be more confrontational.
As he dismissed the news media, a reporter asked again, "What storm, Mr. President". "On Iran? On ISIS?".
Trump would not say.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis and General Joseph Dunford attended as well as the former generals who now serve Trump in the White House - General John Kelly and General H.R. McMaster.
On Thursday Trump also said he intends to drop out of the Iran nuclear deal because he said Iran has not lived up to its side of the bargain.
"And it will be done, if necessary, believe me", the President said.
The administration is also pushing for the denuclearization of North Korea, aiming to deter the dictatorship's nuclear and missile programs with economic sanctions.
The president's advisors are "undoubtedly aware the president's choice will most likely undermine or end USA participation in the nuclear deal, split us from our European allies, reduce the constraints on Iran's nuclear programme, and reduce America's global credibility and negotiating power", says Emma Ashford of the Cato Institute, a U.S. libertarian think tank.
Leading officials in the defence sector he said that in the future he expects them to "a wide spectrum of military options... at a much faster pace".
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