White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday that President Trump's reference to an impending "storm" on Thursday evening was "serious," but downplayed the idea that he was issuing a coded warning about a military conflict with North Korea.

"I believe it was just a general comment," Sanders told reporters at the White House. "I'm not aware of anything specific that was a reference to."

Trump quipped to reporters on Thursday that his dinner with military brass was a "calm before the storm," touching off a round of speculation about whether the president planned to take military action against North Korea in the coming days.

At the same time, Sanders said the situation with North Korea remains "serious," and said Trump's comments were an indication of that.

"I wouldn't say that he's messing with the press. I think we have some serious world issues here," Sanders said.

"We're continuing to put maximum economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea," she said. "I'm simply saying all options are on the table, as they have been."

"He certainly doesn't want to lay out his game plan for our enemies," Sanders added. "I wouldn't say necessarily that he's trying to throw people off."