Feb 24, 2018

Scoop: Corey Lewandowski returns to the Oval Office

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

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Venture capital is beginning a belated conversation about its dearth of black investors and support of black founders, but hasn't yet turned its attention to the trivial participation of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as limited partners in funds.

Why it matters: This increases educational and economic inequality, as the vast majority of VC profits go to limited partners.

Unemployment rate falls to 13.3% in May

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 13.3% in May, with 2.5 million jobs gained, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The far better-than-expected numbers show a surprising improvement in the job market, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The difficulty of calculating the real unemployment rate

Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Note: Initial traditional state claims from the weeks of May 23 and 30, continuing traditional claims from May 23. Initial PUA claims from May 16, 23, and 30, continuing PUA and other programs from May 16; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The shocking May jobs report — with a decline in the unemployment rate to 13.3% and more than 2 million jobs added — destroyed expectations of a much worse economic picture.

Why it matters: Traditional economic reports have failed to keep up with the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic and have made it nearly impossible for researchers to determine the state of the U.S. labor market or the economy.