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Lewandowsi at Trump Tower. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Two days before President Trump gave his unchained, campaign-style speech at CPAC, he had a secret visitor in the Oval Office.

You didn't see it on the president's schedule, and the news hasn't leaked out until now, but Trump's first campaign manager Corey Lewandowski met with the president and Chief of Staff John Kelly in the Oval Office early afternoon on Wednesday.

Lewandowski has publicly criticized Kelly over his handling of the Rob Porter crisis, and the two haven't seen eye to eye on many things.

  • Lewandowski often tells Trump that he's the best campaigner in the world and he should be out there, unscripted and off the Teleprompter, letting rip like he did on the campaign trail.
  • Kelly and others inside the White House would rather Trump focus on governing and stick to his prepared remarks. Kelly often draws a bright line between campaigning and governing, and pushes Trump to "evolve" from some of his blunter rhetoric on the campaign trail.
  • Lewandowski and others on the outside have argued the opposite: "let Trump be Trump." That approach appeals to very few people in the White House, but one of the people who likes that idea is Donald J. Trump.

Trump has told confidants he wants to spend lots of time campaigning in competitive House districts and Senate states to help Republicans keep control of Congress in 2018.

Trump loves campaigning and was back in his element at CPAC on Friday, abandoning a speech he described as "boring" to crack jokes about his bald spot, mock the "fake news" and read the inflammatory anti-immigrant poem titled "The Snake."

Trump loved it and much to the chagrin of some people inside the White House who view Lewandowski as a destructive force, Trump still talks on the phone to his former campaign manager and associates him with a time when he enjoyed campaigning.

Go deeper

President Joe Biden vows to be "a president for all Americans"

Moments after taking the oath of office, President Joe Biden sought to soothe a nation riven by political divisions and a global pandemic, while warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country and defeat a "virus that silently stalks the the country."

Why it matters: From the same steps that a pro-Trump mob launched an assault on Congress two weeks earlier, the new president paid deference to the endurance of American political institutions.

Updated 50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Biden and Vice President Harris review readiness of military troops, a long-standing tradition to signify the peaceful transfer of power.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were inaugurated as president and vice president respectively in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Top Democrats and Republicans gathered for the peaceful transfer of power only two weeks after an unprecedented siege on the building by Trump supporters to disrupt certification of Biden's victory. Trump did not attend Wednesday's ceremony.