Sean Spicer / Twitter

As President Trump's motorcade arrived back at the White House at 10:50 p.m. after his Capitol speech, he invited a dozen gleeful aides up to the residence for a celebration. Over Diet Cokes, they relished the reviews that were popping on their iPhones, shouting out the latest poll or pundit to go their way.

The inner circle knew that the accolades would be short-lived — Trump was in a new mode, not a new man. A top adviser said: "The question for me is: Is this a harbinger, or a one-off?"

Another Trump adviser was hopeful that this supremely image-conscious man would catch the bug: "For the first time, he saw something that he had never seen: People from the entire spectrum saying, 'That's amazing.' That's an experience he's never had before."

Several insiders credited the speech's tone to the involvement of a wider range of aides. "The Stephens" (Bannon and Miller) remained top wordsmiths, joined this time by a bigger circle that included Vice President Pence, Ivanka and Jared Kushner, Gary Cohn, Dina Powell and Hope Hicks.

Miller's first draft followed Trump's instruction to be uplifting. Later iterations got darker, then the final version came back to the light. "We got to the point where the grownups in the room no longer paid attention to command and control, and got involved for the sake of the country and the president," one aide said.

The staff's post-speech euphoria drove the decision to put off unveiling the new executive order on migrant travel, which was penciled in for yesterday, but now is expected early next week. There also were some tweaks needed, with the stakes so high for getting it right this time.

"For once, we had the wind at our sails," a top aide said. "We decided not to sh*t on ourselves."

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 20,755,406 — Total deaths: 752,225— Total recoveries: 12,917,934Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 5,246,760 — Total deaths: 167,052 — Total recoveries: 1,774,648 — Total tests: 64,831,306Map.
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  4. 2020: Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandateBiden and Harris to receive coronavirus briefings 4 times a week.
  5. States: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate.
  6. Business: Why the CARES Act makes 2020 the best year for companies to lose money.
  7. Public health: Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments Cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable.

Trump says he intends to give RNC speech on White House lawn

President Trump speaking to reporters on South Lawn in July. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump told the New York Post on Thursday that he plans to deliver his Republican National Convention speech from the White House lawn, despite bipartisan criticism of the optics and legality of the location.

Why it matters: Previous presidents avoided blurring staged campaign-style events — like party conventions — with official business of governing on the White House premises, per Politico.

Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Antibody drugs and various medicine cocktails against the coronavirus are progressing and may provide some relief before vaccines.

The big picture: Everyone wants to know how and when they can return to "normal" life, as vaccines are not expected to be ready for most Americans for at least a year. Two therapies are known to be helpful, and more could be announced by late September, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci tells Axios.