President Donald Trump is not in the rush.
"Talking to China continues in a very pleasant way – there is absolutely no need to rush" he tweeted in May. During a press conference earlier this month, he said, "I think we will do really well with North Korea over a period of time. I'm not in the rush." And when he was asked during a recent Fox News interview on the efforts In starting a dialogue with Iran, he said, "I'm ready when they are, but when they're ready, it's okay. And meanwhile I'm not in the rush. I'm not in the rush."
When it comes to the biggest foreign policy obstacles in his presidency – a trade agreement with China, a nuclear agreement with North Korea and the continuing standoff with Iran – often restless Trump has relied on the same retort over and over and trying to project patience when he pressed for the development of his high-profile negotiations.
On Friday, Trump repeated his "no rush" approach with Iran and revealed publicly for the first time The time he waived strikes in three places in the country at the last minute because he was told 150 people would die. The operation said he wasn't "proportional to shooting down an unmanned drone," as Iran did this week.
"I am in no hurry, our military is rebuilt, new and ready to go by far the best in the world. Sanctions bite and more are added last night," Trump wrote on Twitter.
The "no rush" waive is more than a rhetorical tic, according to people close to the president. It is both a negotiation strategy and an attempt to write about the slow progress of the negotiations, says current and former administration officials.
Trump thinks the US can wait for its opponents as it jumps up on them to engage in meaningful negotiations through sanctions or tariffs.
But there is also a more practical reason for the approach: It gives the president coverage if the negotiations draw on or his strategy stumbles.
"By showing that he is not under any timeline, he tries to avoid stories that are critical to him for not getting results before," said a former White House official. "He tries to temper expectations and create a narrative that time is on his side."
The former official said that the strategy marks some of a shift for a president who tends to overpromise.
"I think he has learned. He has really adjusted his approach. His normal standard is that we must do it very soon, we must do it in two weeks to make it sound like he is in control, "said the former official pointing to the early mistakes of Trump's presidency, which, as he inflated expectations for a breakthrough with North Korea, was merely criticized for not making sufficient progress.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
When he hit China with trillions of dollars in tariffs, begging bets that Chinese President Xi Jinping will abandon before he does.
"I'm not in a hurry" means "I can hold on to this," said Clete Willems, a former Trump White House official who was closely involved in the China negotiations. "Gamble for the president, and I think it's the right game, is that the US economy is stronger than China's economy and therefore best placed to cope with any negative impact of tariffs."
The strategy will be put to the test at the upcoming G20 summit in Japan where Trump will have a one-to-one meeting with Xi. Administrative officials reminded the possibility that the meeting would result in an agreement – not surprisingly, they insist that he is not in the rush – even though they said it is possible that the two leaders agree on another temporary tariff freeze that will allow continued negotiations.
But even when Trump projects are quiet, there are signs that he may not be as patient as he says he is.
Many in the administration are deeply concerned about the economic and political fallout of the President's tariffs. While Trump has doubled publicly, some close to him have privately worried concerns that tariffs could hurt his chances of winning key figures by 2020, pushing the president to enter into an agreement before the election.
Likewise, Trump is vigilant on the efforts of missing agreements with North Korea and Iran. Despite his hawkish rhetoric, he has repeatedly resisted military intervention in the countries, reluctant to march into a conflict that he believes could harm him politically. He has told counselors that he is worried about a war with Iran, for example, would ruin his presidency.
"He has only one step when it comes to foreign policy. He jumps up to 11, and as soon as he thinks he has something that looks like a victory, he is willing to lie down," Michael says. Fuchs, a former supreme official head of the East Asian and Pacific region of the state department of the Obama administration.
Fuchs said that Trump's "no rush" approach charged the real risk of the president's foreign policy approach, which has increased tensions with Iran, China and North Korea.
"While he says he is in no hurry for any of this, the dangers of putting America in while we wait are huge and it is rootless," said Fuchs, who is now a senior guy at leftist Center for American Progress. "It is very clear that President Trump put us here, and even he has no idea what he is detached."