Trump’s maybe-I-will-and-maybe-I-won’t responses may sound like information, but they’re not. They’re noise. He uses this verbal tic as a hedge and a dodge, to say something without saying anything at all. He deploys other dodges that are equally content-free. Ask him when something is going to happen and he loves to respond, “You’ll find out,” “We’ll see,” “soon,” “eventually,” or “in the coming weeks” to fill the available space.

For Trump, such vague responses accomplish several goals. They maintain his status as the news subject. They kick the story down the road for another set of Trump-centric questions. And they allow news consumers to extrapolate from his non-answers whatever they want to think he’s saying.

Trump has long used non-answers like these during business negotiations to appear unpredictable and nonchalant about the outcome and to foster the illusion that he’s in control, says Trump biographer Tim O’Brien. (O’Brien is now working on Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign.) Trump has even relied on this technique inside his White House, according to Cliff Sims’ 2019 White House memoir, Team of Vipers, and was transparent about why he acted the way he does.