White House photo reveals inside view of Mar-a-Lago situation room

We've seen this photo before.

The president of the United States huddled in a cramped room with top national security officials, intensely focused on what's happening on a television monitor off frame as they wait for the outcome of momentous events half a world away.

Instead of President Obama, it's President Trump. Instead of the White House situation room, it's a conference room at Mar-a-Lago. And instead of the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, it's the Thursday night missile strike on the Syrian regime.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted out the photo Friday, giving the first insider's view into Trump's demeanor as the U.S. carried out the Tomahawk missile strikes. Spicer said the photo was taken at about 9:15 p.m. Thursday night, after Trump's dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping but before he announced the air strikes in remarks from Mar-a-Lago.

Trump, staring directly ahead, is surrounded at the table by (clockwise from left) Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin, son-in-law Jared Kushner, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. Sitting a row back from the table are Spicer, chief strategist Stephen Bannon, senior adviser Stephen Miller, national security aide Michael Anton, Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell, and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn. A military aide guards the door.

Other officials participated via secure teleconference from Washington, Spicer said. They included Vice President Pence. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford.

Like many news organizations, USA TODAY has protested the use of White House handout photos as substitutes for news photography of an event. In this case, USA TODAY has determined that legitimate national security requirements prohibited news coverage of the meeting.

Spicer said the photograph was edited to obscure the contents of sensitive documents.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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