tv The Inauguration of Joe Biden CNN January 20, 2021 7:00am-12:00pm PST
trump's are going to be here, according to what we looked at when we looked at the seating. that includes christy noems, a big ally of the president. she's expected to be here. her seat is among other governors including arizona's doug ducey who the president feuded with in the aftermath of the election because he didn't do the president's bidding. several other guests will be here in a socially distanced manner, jake. >> all right. we're watching right now as a vip pulls up to the capitol. we're not sure who it is. but obviously the person is coming with some sort of law enforcement protection, and we will watch to see who it is. manu raju, you're at capitol hill. tell us what you're seeing. >> reporter: in front of me, a huge motorcade, probably more than one dignitary. it looks like sonia sotomayor,
elena kagan, the supreme court justices. there's bret kavanaugh, also, walking in. we did expect several of the supreme court justices to attend today's festivities. we're also expecting momentarily the arrival of the former presidents barack obama and bill clinton. we did see, also, george w. bush pull up along with his wife laura. we're expecting former vice president dan quayle to be in attendance. mike pence is coming here today. we don't expect him to come in front of the doors where we are, but we do expect him here. of course, the big absence, donald trump not here at the moment, not planning to come, of course. many former top republicans in attendance, lawmakers and former presidents bush and justices nominated by republican presidents all here in this show of support for this peaceful --
this transition of power we're about to witness. >> manu raju on capitol hill. dan, i think that was supreme court justice sonia sotomayor that we saw walking into the capitol, the first latina to be appointed to the u.s. supreme court. she will be swearing in vice president-elect kamala harris who, of course, will be the first black and south asian woman to become the vice president. >> that image alone is going to be something, to see those two women standing next to one another when we have seen man after man, not only taking the oath, but giving the oath and the historical moment for those two is going to be remarkable. those images that we're looking at, this is -- was not an easy decision for some of those involved in planning to make. there was some pressure for joe
biden, never mind the security risks that went along with the attack on the capitol two weeks ago, but just because of the pandemic, there was concern about doing this. the soon-to-be president biden and people around him said it was essential to show the country, show the world the normalcy that this will mean and the normalcy they hope biden and his presidency will bring and return to america. >> another vip pulling up to the capitol. it is michelle obama, the former first lady of the united states. michelle obama wearing a mask. spotting celebrities and vips and politicians a little more challenging in the age of covid. there's president obama as well, i believe. obviously the presence of michelle and barack obama not a
surprise at joe biden's inauguration, but still a welcome sight, as we note the transition of power. there will be republican presidents here as well, including george w. bush. >> that's right. can you imagine getting inside the head of the obamas, particularly barack obama right now. he worked really hard to make this moment happen. he defied the norms of former presidents because he felt that he had to because donald trump did way too much of that in campaigning very aggressively for his vice president to be able to be here today, to take the oath as the 46th president of the united states. he worked really hard four years ago, didn't have the same result, but this is different and it is very, very personal. >> and michelle obama, too. she has had quite the year of coming out with the criticism of
the current administration. i think back to four years ago when the two of them were in this same place and witnessing the inauguration of donald trump. this has to be a full-circle moment. >> hillary clinton -- >> talk about a different vibe. >> a full circle moment for all of them. >> i assume bill clinton will be coming out the other side. we don't have as good a view of that. there she is. there he is walking in with her. dana, we were discussing yesterday the strength it must have taken hillary clinton to attend the trump inaugural four years ago after she won the popular vote but lost the electoral college vote after a campaign that was marked by nastiness against her. yet, she showed up because it's important to the country. she had the strength of character to do that, strength of character that the outgoing president sadly lacks. >> i cannot emphasize enough how
all those people, the clintons, the obamas, we will see the bushes soon. they have all reflected on how surreal four years ago felt to them, watching donald trump being elected, and even as surreal as today's events are are going to be, the social distancing on the steps, the lack of a crowd. there is something about today's event that will be very normal in a very different way. you have joe biden, someone who is so familiar to washington, taking the oath of office, and we should also point out the way in which joe biden has book ended two profound moments of history in this country, as a vice president to the first black president of the united states and now choosing for his vice president the first black woman and south asian woman vice president of the united states. it's a remarkable moment, but i can guarantee you, the clintons, the obamas, will have a much easier time of this inauguration than they did four years ago.
>> i was looking to see if hillary clinton was going to skip up the steps with excitement. can you imagine how vindicated she feels. jake, like you were saying, four years ago, she did her duty. she showed up for democracy and put her own feelings aside. and this is one, obviously, she's very, very happy to show up for as the former first lady and never mind the person who was defeated by donald trump. >> one protocol, one tradition that president trump did engage in, we are told by the white house outgoing deputy press secretary, judd deer is he did leave a letter for joe biden, a tradition going on now for decades. pamela brown joins us now to tell us more about what we know about that letter. pamela, what can you tell us? >> reporter: the president had a
long list of to do items while he was in the oval office last night. one of them was to write joe biden a letter. as you know, president obama left him a letter when he took office, something he talked about with his aides repeatedly, bragged about. he decided to write one which was surprising, considering how he has broken tradition. in this letter that was described to me as a personal note, the president basically carried on with the theme that he said today, praying for the success of the country and the new administration to care for the country. this is a personal note that the president felt was important to leave for joe biden. >> all right, pamela. thank you so much. appreciate it. arlette, it is perhaps the most important speech of his life, the one that the president-elect is about to deliver.
he did a decent job at the democratic convention. but this is going to be a tougher task because the country is in real pain and is deeply divided. what can you tell us about the work that president-elect biden is doing on this speech? >> reporter: well, the president-elect is aware of the gravity and the moment that this speech will offer as this country really in a divided moment and also grappling with this pandemic. but i'm told that the president-elect is likely to make final tweaks on his speech until the very last minute. this is not entirely surprising in biden world. he is a meticulous preparer for speeches big and small, and he's often flown to make those changes until the very, very last minute. now, the president-elect has been working on this speech for a few weeks with his chief speech writer, renee ready as
well as senior adviser mike donovan, someone who has been really central to a lot of biden's messaging over the past few decades. what we're expecting to hear from the president-elect today is this call for unit, something that has been a hallmark of his presidential campaign but really takes on heightened significance in the moment that this country is currently in. we also know some background on how biden prepares for these types of speeches. he also has talked about how he marks up the speeches to help him with the pacing. that's something he's likely done today as he is preparing to deliver the most important speech of his life. >> all right, arlette saenz, thank you so much. we're watching the scenes coming from capitol hill. i just saw west virginia democratic senator joe manchin taking some couple's picture for them with their camera. everybody wearing masks, which
is obviously quite a different sight from president trump's departure earlier today where i didn't see one mask. it's a real moment of contrast. so much of this -- of the trump presidency has felt cinematic. i believe that is ted cruz there wearing a mask and nodding in the center of your screen. yet another sign of president-elect extending a hand of bipartisanship and opportunity even though the invitations go automatically to every member of the house and senate, biden could have made it clear, as beto or rourke, the former texas representative said he didn't believe ted cruz believed to be there, playing a role in the big lie that biden
didn't win and the election could be overturned. yet, he's there, showing his face, though masked. in any case, dana, so much of this day is so different because there just aren't crowds there. the american people aren't there. it's dignitaries and officials such as -- who is this? is that laura bush. that's elaine chow and mitch mcconnell. elaine chow, trump's former secretary of transportation who resigned after the insurrection. of course, her husband is the senate majority leader. >> talk about uncomfortable positions or maybe comfortable. elaine chow and mitch mcconnell, obviously they are fierce partisans, particularly mitch mcconnell. but this is the standard tradition that they adhere to, and mitch mcconnell, of course, has been incredibly critical of
the president of late. we'll see whapgs -- of the current president. we'll see what happens when he turns to start working across the aisle with joe biden who he's worked with before. there's amy klobuchar, the top democrat on the inaugural committee. looks like steny hoyer. chuck schumer who, of course, as soon as this oath is taken, he's going to be the senate majority leader. he is going to be the top democrat -- he already is the top democrat. he's going to set the agenda for the united states senate because it is a razor-thin majority that they have. but they have it because kamala harris will be vice president and, therefore, president of the senate. >> that alone will mark a very important and new era for this country with democratic control of, importantly, the procedures of the senate and the agenda of the senate even as mitch mcconnell and chuck schumer are
still working out how they're going to have a power sharing agreement for some of the rest of the process in washington. it makes a big difference for the joe biden agenda, whether or not bills can be put onto the floor of the senate and be considered by that body. so this is a big moment for democrats and an opportunity for democrats, but there are obviously a lot of challenges ahead. as we watch lawmakers come into the capitol for this, i'm reminded that, of course, it has become pretty standard these days for some members of congress to skip inaugurations, whether in protest or for other reasons. i think we can expect to see at least some of that today. as you pointed out earlier, ted cruz was there, kevin mccarthy was there. these are people who just a couple days ago were trying to say that joe biden shouldn't be president. so they're going to be here today. >> the most undemocratic actions
we've seen in this thriving democracy in quite some time. this is biden's motorcade departing from saint matthews in downtown washington, taking the soon-to-be first family to the congress. wolf, i'll throw it back to you. >> reporter: it looks like the vice president mike pence is arriving right now with karen pence, his wife. this is really significant, john, that the vice president, not the president, but the vice president decided he was going to skip the affair at joint base andrews where the president said goodbye. instead, he's here and will honor this transition of a peaceful transfer of power. >> there are very few democrats watching who would have kind things to say about mike pence over the past four years. over the past couple weeks, two weeks ago today, he was in the capitol building he's walking into right now during the insurrection. many of those protesters
carrying trump/pence banners chanting "hang mike pence." but respect for the process and the system today. by the end of this day joe biden will be president. we'll have our first woman vice president, our first woman of color as vice president. the democrats will take control of the senate. the biden agenda will begin. the executive orders will start flowing. all that is critically important and we will go through all the policy and personnel changes. over this day, the next 100 days and so on. the image of today are always important. i think all the more so because as we watch this play out with vice president pence there, with former president bush there, with, as jake just noted, some republicans there who just days ago were still repeating the lies about this election. it sends an important signal to the country and to the world which is watching today, but the system propelled the attack. the horror which we all watched
at that very building two weeks ago will be replaced with a remarkable ceremony, the inauguration of a new president, the inauguration of a historic vice president and proof that the system withheld, again, he used the word repelled an attack. to see the band, to see the flags, to see the crowd, a lot of this is symbols, but symbols matter. symbols send a message. i remember being at the white house on the night of 9/11 when george w. bush came back to the white house, many secret service agents and others in security were concerned about that. he thought it was important to send a signal. congress came back two weeks ago to finish certifying the electoral college vote. many of those flags honoring our friends and neighbors and fellow americans who have perished from covid. this all matters today as we
pull together the beginning of the next chapter. imagine, wolf, how many times did he walk into the capitol building as a united states senator. today he walks in as president-elect and will leave as president. >> we saw those flags, thousands and thousands of flags down there on the washington mall. look at all those flags. people are not there. the biden biographer is with us right now. it was significant to me, evan and i want you thoughts 24 hours ago or so when he delivered his final speech in delaware, thanked the people of delaware, the state of delaware, spoke about his late son beau. he got very emotional. you could see the tears coming down his cheek. tell us what you anticipate now, how he's going to do in this approximately 20-minute address to the nation after he's sworn in as the 46th president. >> these are the two cradles that created joe biden, the state of delaware and here, the u.s. capitol. this is a place that helped him recover in his life.
he's thinking about recovery today. when you talk to the people around us, he they say we have two things before us, the rescue and the recovery. the rescue is not just about getting us out of the covid epi epidemic, it's about getting this country into a condition where we can even conceive of making hard choices together. then there's the recovery process. that means, also, building back better as he says. that can sound like a slogan, except there's a meaning to it. what he means is donald trump happened for a reason. he didn't come out of nowhere. he was the product of deep-seeded facts in american life, real struggles. if we're going to try to repair our politics, we have to address these kinds of long running structural issues, systemic racism, income inequality. what you'll hear is that we're embarking on something that is bigger even than the president
crisis. >> do you think we'll see an emotional, teary-eyed biden as we saw yesterday? >> he is somebody who is comfortable with tears. i've been with him at times in the west wing when there were tears of joy, too, moments of positivity. he does not shield that from us. this is a period, a moment for him that is all of these overlapping elements, enormous emotional charge. there's family with him. there's family who cannot be here. there is, after all, the country at stake and the office he has been pursuing since he was a teenager. we may well see a very emotional joe biden. look, he also takes this moment and the majesty of it very seriously because he knows the world is watching. it's not just delaware, not just the united states. this is the moment when he can, haend will probably never have a larger audience than he does
today at this moment in this 20 minutes for him to begin to tell people across the world that the united states is here. the republic still stands and he is prepared to begin this process. >> you're absolutely right. jamie gangel, you're getting new information of what we can anticipate in the next president's address after he's sworn in. >> reporter: wolf, we've heard that it is like the speech when joe biden declared victory, hopeful, turning a page. my source says there is no plan to mention donald trump by name in the speech which presidents normally do. after all, donald trump isn't going to be there. i'm also told the speech will have a realistic, but optimistic tone, that it will be conciliatory without being a pushover, wolf. i just want to mention one other
thing. i was just told that former vice president dick cheney and his wife were invited today and they very much wanted to come. but as is the case with a lot of people, they were advised by their doctor, because of the covid pandemic not to come. that said, i was told that they were very proud of their daughter liz cheney's vote to impeach donald trump, that they thought it showed courage and conscience. >> it looks like the motorcade is heading closer and closer to the u.s. capitol. john king, let's talk a little bit about what we're bracing for right now. this is history, obviously, unfolding, but it's unique in the sense that we are seeing
republican leaders, mitch mcconnell, ted cruz, other republicans there as well. we saw bernie sanders, saw the democrats showing up as well. this is an effort to show some semblance of a normal inauguration. >> a divied country is watching. the world is watching. this is supposed to be a big american moment. yes, we're inaugurated a democratic president. four years ago we inaugurated a republican president. the bigger message of the day is that this is an american moment, we have a continuity of government, we have a peaceful transfer of power, respect for the process, respect for each other, respect for institutions. respect is not a word that is used very often over the past four years. i think it will be used a lot beginning today. whatever your politics, watching at home or around the world, joe biden respects government, he respects people who listens to them. he does not chainsaw them on
twitter. he's about to walk into it as the president-elect and to leave it as the president of the united states. what a testament to his personal resilience. again, whether you agree or disagree with his politics, twice to lose runs for the president, all the personal tragedy in his life, and today he will take the oath of office as the president of the united states, a man who every time he's been knocked down, has gotten up and gotten back into the fight. you have to respect that to come back to that word. it's a majestic day. it always has been and always should be. just because in the middle of a pandemic, two weeks after the government was attacked at the inspiration of the sitting president of the united states. back to jamie gangel's point, president bush is happy to be there today as a republican. even mitch mcconnell, who was with president trump for the last four years, in recent days
has made it pretty clear, he wants to shove president trump to the sidelines if he can, to be part of the republicans trying to do that. so there's a cleansing, an air of cleansing about today, an internal fight in the republican party to be soon-to-be former president trump that will continue. today is an american celebration, a testament to voting, to the system and to the resilience and stubbornness, irish stubborn is joe biden. >> the motorcade driving closer and closer to the capitol, right by all the u.s. national guard troops who have' lerjed on washington, d.c., some 25,000. many of them armed to help protect this city during this very, very important moment. manu raju, you're getting ready to see the president-elect and his entourage arrive. >> we'll see them being greeted by congressional leaders of both parties. a sign of bipartisanship on this
historic day, just inside the east front steps of the capitol, inside the doors are the congressional leaders. mitch mcconnell, nancy pelosi the house speaker, they'll be there. we expect the other democratic leader, chuck schumer, as well as house republican leader kevin mccarthy to greet joe biden on his entrance to the capitol. he's going to walk up the steps, the east front steps of the capitol into the house side of the building and then make his way through the capitol and ultimately come out the west side of the capitol where he will deliver his inaugural address. it's just such a stunning contrast from what we saw just two weeks ago when these rioters came all over this plaza and stormed the very east front steps of the capitol that the soon-to-be president will be walking up and delivering his historic remarks. right now we're seeing his motorcade pull up. we do expect him to walk out
moment terribly. we do expect the congressional leaders to greet him as he walks in and delivers his remarks here. >> do we have a sense, manu, how many of the 100 senators might be there today, how many of the 435 members of the house of representatives? are almost all of them there? >> i think there will be a significant number. there will be some who are not showing up. we're seeing some members decide they will not come for a variety of reasons. it looks like we are seeing kamala harris and her husband walk out of her motorcade from our vantage point. it looks like she's waiting now. there is jill biden walking out and there is president-elect joe biden. >> he's going to be walking in. dr. jill biden, his wife is there as well, members of the family. they're all there for this truly historic moment as we're watching all this unfold.
john, as we're watching this unfold, let's give a sense of perspective. two weeks ago today, on january 6th -- there's speaker nancy pelosi. she's there obviously as well. we saw a riot emerge, an angry pro-trump mob storming where we are now. a week later we saw the second impeachment of president trump, and now the inauguration of this new president of the united states. within two weeks, look at the drama that has unfolded. >> as we look at the drama, we have to remember the world is watching the drama unfold here, and it is majestic drama today.
it is the inauguration of a new president. you see the flags, the ceremony, the pomp and circumstance you should have with the inauguration of a new president. again, the world watching and the country watching, all more important because of the events you just mentioned. one wednesday ago, donald trump impeached for a second time, two weeks ago, president trump urging his supporters to march on capitol hill and dozens, if not more of those supporters breaking into that building in a criminal attack, attacking their own government. this is a message today not of a transition of power of a new administration but of the strength and resilience of the system, of the democracy. joe biden and kamala harris will walk into this building where both have worked as senators, they walk in as president-elect and vice president-elect. the ceremony scaled back some because of covid, but still a spectacular site as we prepare.
we're getting very close. 90 minutes from now, joe biden will be the president of these united states. >> the house leadership will be introduced meant terribly, then the senate leadership, then the vips will be introduced including former vice president dan quayle, former president bill clinton and hillary clinton. george bush and laura bush, former president barack obama and michelle. >> again, such a stark contrast than two weeks ago, what we saw happening on the very steps that the bidens walked up. david axelrod, you were at the inauguration of president obama. what's happening behind closed doors? >> a lot of excitement. i must say, the riddles of this are familiar, but they've never been more important than now. one of my recollections, people are milling around in the
speaker's office, dignitaries and so on. i was waiting for president obama there to give him something before he went out to be sworn in. president bush arrived first, he was just leaving office. we had not been terribly kind to him in the campaign. he knew that, and he could not have been more encouraging to me personally. i remember him putting his arm on his shoulder saying, you're going to do great. appreciate every minute. it's going to be the ride of your life. there's nothing better. i thought what a gracious note. i'm so happy to see him here because his appearance here is symbolically so important for our country, to understand that we are first americans and that whether or not we transfer power from one administration to another, whether you're a democrat or a republican, we have a vested interest in your
success. that hopefully will be part of the spirit with which people will receive biden's address today. >> i can't tell you how wonderful it was to see those couples walking up those steps just a few moments ago, two weeks ago today. it was an occupied place. it was a crime scene. and now we have democracy rising and another thing i think about anderson is that, to biden, the capitol is his second home. when he walks through these halls unlike barack obama, he knows where he's going. it must be an odd feeling for him to say, well, i'm leaving the capitol now to go to the white house. >> there's obviously scalise and clyburn. there's something about that sort of mundane milling around that's kind of comforting and
soothing, something we see every four years. given all the tumult and auj da that this country has been through, it is a new beginning. >> it is. for joe biden, that space, that capitol building has been around the milling around. one of the things he did, he kept his locker in the senate gym even after he went over to the vice presidency because he liked to come back and be among senators, among members of the house. one of the things he said to me at one point was he watched the culture of the congress dekraed o -- degrade. he remembered when bill clinton had been called bubba by somebody in the congress. he said there's been a cultural change and it's not going to go anywhere good. this is years ago that he picked up on this. it's important that he used to sit on the floor of the senate, on the other side of the aisle, sit with john mccain. it bothered him that the
leadership of both sides said we don't think that looks good, they had to go back to the respective side of the aisle. that's not how he sees this place. >> first of all, we had a near-death experience for our democracy. you talk about watching people go back up the stairs and what gloria was saying is so powerful, it was a crime scene. now it's not. now it's not. i think that joe biden is going to train us to see the world differently. we got trained to look for threats under trump and to look for things to block and to be scared of. he's going to teach us how to look for opportunities, for common ground, for ways to come together. it's happening right now. it's happening right now. here we have people from different parties coming together to sit down, restoring these rituals. it does matter. for me, i was one of the people out in the crowd when obama came. you guys were up there. >> you looked good, by the way.
>> little tiny dot. i had my aunt with me. we were shivering. obama came out and, like i said, that feeling of hope was palpable. i think the hope is different now. it's more about faith. our faith has been tested and our faith endures. >> you were among 2 million people who were out there. when i was sitting on that platform, i was looking at a sea of humanity. there will be no one there. that will be symbolic of the challenge that we face. when i watch soon-to-be president biden come up those steps, he walked those steps for the first time in 1973 as a young senator. his colleagues served with calvin coolidge and franklin roosevelt. 48 years later he's walking up those steps. he is a link to the past and a
beacon to a better future. it's an interesting position. who would have predicted that at this stage in his life, he would be in that position. >> jake tapper, as president-elect biden looks out, he won't see that sea of people that president obama and president trump saw. he'll see a sea of flags, 200,000 flags representing people who are not there, also the reminder of the 400,000 dead in this country and that number still on the rise. >> anderson, it is a day of solemnity because of all that loss and also because of the terrorist threat that has required this intense security at the capitol. it's amazing, if you look back at madges of this exact spot in the capitol two weeks ago, and it was the scene of an insurrection, a terrorist
attack. here it is, a day of magistery, celebration, transition of powerful, if not peaceful transition of power. >> sounds like they're announcing the leadership of the senate. >> majority whip, the honorable john thune and mrs. kimberly thune. democratic leader honorable charles schumer and the honorable chuck grassley and mrs. jennifer hines. >> this is the leadership of the u.s. senate, the longest serving members of the senate in both parties. president pro tem -- i guess the outgoing -- chuck grassley and likely the incoming will be patrick leahy, another constitutional role in the succession line. >> it's a really important moment for the united states and also for the world. the world saw american democracy
be truly tested over the last two months. the world is now watching as american democracy continues. there's former vice president dan quayle. >> but it's for that same reason that i think this is a moment of celeb celebration. >> inaugurations are a big day. all the pomp and circumstance you're seeing, these are traditions that go back pretty far in this country. for most americans, they only get to see it every four years. they're seeing it again today, even if spite of what we witnessed and experienced as a country in the last couple weeks. this is the process we're experiencing as a nation again.
>> dan quayle held the job of vice president which joe biden held. >> former indiana senator. >> joe biden will be the 15th vice president to be sworn in as pres president. >> jeff zeleny has some news which is interesting in light of one of the heroes. >> we have been talking all morning long about how this is the exact site of the riot at the capitol. one other moment from inside that insurrection that we can remember so clearly is capitol police officer eugene good man. he held the rioters at bay for some 85 seconds to get senators out of harm's way, get the vice president out of harm's way. today we're learning he is going to be escorting vice president-elect kamala harris into the inauguration ceremony. he is going to be walking side by side with her.
he's also going to be coming with a new title. going to be acting deputy house sergeant at arms. so certainly a monumental move for the last two weeks. he'll be walking side by side, a historic person in her own right, senator kamala harris becoming the next vice president of the united states with officer eugene goodman. >> jeff, we can't hear you very well. let me tell the viewers what you're reporting which is that vice president-elect kamala harris is being escorted to the inauguration ceremony by capitol police officer eugene goodman, who you might recall from his heroism two weeks ago, he led a group of the insurrectionists away from the senate. he kind of served as a decoy and
led them away from where they wanted to go, which was the floor of the u.s. senate. some other rioters, terrorists did find their way to the senate. but in that initial assault, he guided them away. since then capitol police officer eugene good man who is a veteran as well, has a new role. he is the acting deputy sergeant at arms in the house of representatives. >> the honorable dan quayle. >> wolf? >> dan quayle just got introduced, the first of several major vips arriving right now. there's dan quayle, the former vice president of the united states showing up. he's going to be followed by former president bill clinton, former president george w. bush, former president barack obama. an enormous display of good will from these former presidents of the united states. >> a very important display. again, two weeks ago there were
thugs, rioters running through that building, attacking the american democracy. today we're watching the former vice president here. we'll see former presidents come out right behind him showing america and showing the world that that building that was the -- it was a crime scene two weeks ago today. it is a stage today for a very important moment in the american democracy. dan quayle, a, a reminder we lost president george h.w. bush, but also, that was the last one-term presidency. george h.w. bush served one term. after that, two terms. donald trump leaving washington today after one term as president. it's a remarkable show of force, a bipartisan show of power here, an american tradition. but as jake was just talking about, an american tradition that was a question mark two weeks ago when that building was being attacked. many questioning what is happening. why would an american president send his supporters to attack a
shrine of american democracy. today we can turn the page on that, wolf. >> after the former presidents are introduced, the chief justice, other members -- other justices of the u.s. supreme court will be introduced. and then significantly, john, the vice president of the united states, mike pence and karen pence, they will be introduced as well. missing in action, one donald trump. >> he has never respected the traditions and norms. the things, forgive me, that truly make america great. these are the things that make america great when everybody decides for a few hours, for a day, we can set aside our differences. debates will begin perhaps before the sun sets. but this is what is supposed to happen. we watch the flags, listen to the band, we watch the leaders of our past parade onto the
stage to be part of the ceremony to pass the baton and the torch. >> here comes bill clinton and hillary clinton. they're going to be introduced momentarily. jamie gangel is with us as well. you've got information on these former presidents who are going to be attending and celebrating this moment in american history. >> i have to tell you, wolf, when the inauguration was being planned, i was asked to reach out to both former president clinton and former president bush to find out whether they would be attending, and i got the same response from both of them. sitting here waiting for my invitation. they were really excited to come and to be here. i think it should also be noted that former president george bush was one of the first people to make a statement congratulating joe biden and kamala harris, and he didn't just make a statement. he picked up the phone and
42nd president of the united states the honorable william j. clinton and the honorable hillary rodham clinton. ♪ ♪ >> and there is former president george w. bush and laura bush. they're getting ready to walk in as well. this is an exciting moment for those of us, john, who love american history, who love covering presidents of the united states, democrats and republicans. they're getting together at this really historic moment. >> and think of the remarkable moment. a, the message this sends to the country and to the world to have the former presidents there of
both parties. george w. bush has watched donald trump run against him in some ways, run against the old republican party. so this is a moment where, trust me, he's quite happy that donald trump is gone, even though donald trump is a republican. imagine the moment for hillary clinton, and imagine all the scorn republicans heap on hillary clinton. she had the dignity and respect to come and attend this event four years ago, even after the campaign against donald trump. she's here again today in a much better mood. >> another introduction.
>> ladies and gentlemen, the 43rd president of the united states, the honorable george w. bush and mrs. laura bush. >> george w. bush and laura bush. jamie gangel, what are you learning? >> i'm laughing as i watch them come down. you may recall, that even though he's a republican, former president bush did not vote for donald trump in 2016. he left it blank. i think it's pretty fair to guess he did not vote for him in 2020 either, but what a difference four years make when, at the last inauguration, president bush was famously quoted after hearing donald trump's inauguration speech, the carnage speech as saying that
was weird s-h. you can fill in the rest. this is a small club, these former presidents. they are very, very close. they talk to each other. they organize. donald trump is not going to be a part of this group. >> there you see the supreme court justices led by chief justice of the united states john roberts walking in as well. they will be introduced after former president barack obama and michelle obama are introduced. they've got a real specific agenda. listen to this. >> ladies and gentlemen, the 44th president of the united states, the honorable bar ack h obama and mrs. michelle obama.
♪ ♪ >> there they are. this is a moment -- a huge moment for draum and michelle obama, don't you think? >> absolutely. four years ago, donald trump ran against barack obama and won the presidency. in some ways donald trump's election was a repudiation of the agenda. joe biden ran saying we're going to strengthen obama care, respect our allies. president biden will be different than president obama. but this is a very proud moment for the obamas, both of them. >> let's get david axelrod's thoughts. you used to work for barack obama when he was president of the united states. david, you helped him become president of the united states. >> yeah. i also watched the relationship between him and joe biden grow. they weren't that close when obama named him vice president. over the eight years of the
presidency, they just became close are and closer. sometimes these relationships grow apart. they became very, very good friends. i'm sure obama, for him, this moment is not just about his happiness for the country, which i'm sure he feels, but also for a very close friend who is realizing it. in whom i know he has great faith to be the right person at this moment. this is a moment of great satisfaction for both barack and michelle obama. >> there you see the justices of the u.s. supreme court, including some of the justices appointed, nominated by soon-to-be former president donald trump. chief justice john roberts walking in right there as well. they're going to be followed, john -- it's all three branches of the united states government participating in this moment. >> when conservatives talk about the trump legacy, they will not
want to talk about impeached twice, not talk about inspiring insurrection. they'll try to talk about gorsuch, kavanaugh, coney barrett. one of the legacies that will be with us is the appointment of those three justices and dozens of other federal court judges. >> this is the family of the soon-to-be vice president of the united states and doug i'm hoff. her husband -- these are the stepchildren of kamala harris walking in as well. all the family members are going to be introduced in the course of this inauguration. this is cohen and ella, obviously very exciting. >> for the family, it's a remarkable moment and a reminder we're being introduced to a historic vice president, a woman as the vice president of the united states. the first, second man, second dude, call it what you will, the husband of the vice president
and the family of the vice president in this remarkably now very public role. yes, she was the attorney general of california, then the senator from california. different families handle it in different ways. it will be fascinating to watch it play out. >> next to be introduced will be the family of president-elect joe biden and jill biden. they'll be introduced, followed by the president mike pence and karen pence. there you see chief justice john roberts who is there, former presidents -- it's a real vip crowd. >> the way it is supposed to be, a bipartisan crowd. i believe that was president clinton and president bush saying hello. this is the biden family. >> this is ashley and hunter biden, the children of the bidens walking in right now, and the grandchildren i should say as well.
>> this is a celebration of the united states of america in so many ways. here we see the president-elect's children, hunter and ashley as well as grandchildren coming in to the proc procession, coming into the proceedings. as we look out in this crowd and we see president george w. bush and president barack obama, president bill clinton, former vice president dan quayle. not all, but so many democrats and republicans in the house and senate were reminded that american democracy was able to survive, does persist. it was tested certainly for months there if not for years. dana. >> as we see joe biden's two surviving children ashley and
hunter, we also see his grandchildren who really have been very active, were very active in his campaign, particularly his granddaughters who active on social media. they tried to help to reach out to young vote rs. they're also people who, according to to joe biden, helped tell the story. after charlottesville and after the both sidesism that donald trump did, that his granddaughters said, you've got to do this. you've got to do this. this is your time, pop. this is your time. >> as they're being introduced formally, just recognizing all the modern families being recognized by the first and second family.
ashley biden is the daughter of joe and jill biden, but hunter biden is his surviving child from his first marriage. joe biden's first wife who died tragically in a car crash. earlier you saw ella and cole emhoff, the step daughters of kamala harris, are doug emhoff's children. like so many american families, you see how blended families are coming together today from both the first and second families. now we see vice president mike pence and karen pence walking through the senate, through the capitol chambers. vice president mike pence choosing to attend this inauguration which, given all that's happened, is a pretty significant moment. >> it is, especially because he was not at the sendoff at joint base andrews for president
trump. they claimed logistical difficulties attending both and obviously he thought this was more important. pamela brown has more on the presence of outgoing vice president and outgoing second lady pence. >> we learned from a source close to pence, jake, that vice president pence did leave a handwritten note to the incoming vice president, kamala harris. he did leave a note. the source would not say what the contents of the note was, but it is notable for a couple of reasons. one is, it's not necessarily tradition for the vice president to leave a note like this for the incoming vice president, but pence has clearly taken many steps to smooth things over during this transition. he called harris a few days ago to congratulate her. as we know, the president has not reached out at all, and so he's taken many steps to try to smooth things over and he's become an unlikely defender,
essentially, of biden and harris evictry, by resisting the president's pressure to overturn the election results, something he didn't have the authority to do. i'm told by a source that one thing pence wants to accomplish is meet eugene goodman and thank him in person, the heroic alcohol officer promoted to deputy sergeant of arms. unclear if they've made contact yet. >> all right, pamela. we should note that pence's desire to smooth things over is only about two weeks old, during this two-month transition. before that, he was as much a hindrance as anybody else. let's look forward at this inaugural right now. pretty soon, within the hour, we're expecting president-elect joe biden to be sworn in as the 46th president of the united states. let's listen in. >> the honorable julie e. adams and chief administrative officer of the house of representatives, katherine spindor.
>> these are some of the individuals who help run the congress. we are expecting, also, some of the individuals who are the chairs of the inaugural committee. you saw earlier, perhaps, senator roy blunt and senator amy klobuchar. they are the chair and ranking member of the senate rules committee which is in charge of this. but these are basically dignitaries who are key to the events going on today and also in the congress in general. >> it takes a lot to pull off an inauguration. there are lots of protocols, lots of rules. they're involved in doing that and not just the elected representatives, but the people who work there and have done this many times. we just saw just for a second a flash of the clintons. i love watching these moments as an american, as a journalist, as someone who likes history, to see them all mingling.
let's listen to what's next. >> ladies and gentlemen, the vice president of the united states, the honorable michael r. pence and mrs. karen pence. ♪ ♪ >> bipartisan applause for the outgoing vice president mike pern pence and his wife, the second lady. obviously some appreciation that they're abiding by norms and basic protocols and basic decency by attending and being part of this transfer of power. there you see former president george w. bush who knows mike pence from when mike pence was in the house of representatives,
before he wentz back to indiana to run for governor. >> that's right. he was a member of the leadership. looking at mike pence there -- there you see him greeting the obamas as well. looking at him, two weeks ago today he was in there doing his constitutional duty, and a mob inspired by the man who picked him for vice president, was trying to break in right where he is, to get into the capitol, some of them were screaming "hang mike pence." >> there was literally a gallows that some had fashioned outside the capitol with a noose. >> talk about what you said earlier, jake, a celebration of democracy. the fact that two weeks later to the day, and there he is, doing his duty, not constitutionally this time, but as an american, as somebody who respects protocol. he is there as opposed to being at the andrews air force base sendoff this morning. >> for what it's worth, given
his role in the last several months, he has played a role anywhere we are in terms of what happened two weeks ago. for what it's worth, it's important that he decided to make a statement about the transfer of power here and about being a part of this process and being a part of the ceremony which is -- has become sacred in this country, at least in the last century where we've had this kind of marking of the passing of the baton from one administration to the next. what's always fun and nice to see in moments like this is you see the former president, and even members of congress, that they've known throughout their political lives, greeting each other and seeing each other in some cases for the first time in a long time. these are not people who see each other all the time. they're elbow bumping. maybe they're from different political parties. but that's part of the experience heres, even in socially distanced covid times, you see -- there's steve
scalise, and i think that is donna brazile in the background there. there are people coming together today and actually enjoying this moment of brief bipartisanship before things start again in washington. >> not to be too cold about it, but often these former presidents only see each other at inaugurations and at funerals. >> yeah. >> the pictures i have in my mind of george w. bush and the obamas -- really he hangs out more with michelle than barack, are from the john mccain funeral and from the george h.w. bush funeral. but that is reassuring for americans to see, that individuals who battled fiercely in an election, or oppose each other in terms of policies, can come together to celebrate the country together, to be human
with one another because of their commitment to the united states and the ideals that this nation aspires to. >> and they can even become friends. george w. bush and michelle obama have actually developed a friendship. as david axelrod said earlier, when barack obama was running for president, he was not particularly kind to his predecessor. he was basically running against the bush legacy, but there was kindness in the turnover between administrations. and when barack obama turned the white house over to donald -- >> is that a-rod? >> j. lo will be performing letter. >> when barack obama turned the white house over to donald trump, he said in his letter that he wanted to be as helpful to the trumps as possible. and i believe he meant it.
i believe donald trump believed he meant it. he cherished that letter in a lot of ways. they never took him up on that offer. but that is the tradition, that we are supposed to be celebrating today, the tradition that is represented by what we're seeing on the screen here right now. >> you see barack obama being friendly, saying hi to a bunch of people. >> i'm wondering if he's going to walk over to mike pence. we were noticing -- >> they were nodding to each other. >> mike pence was sort of standing alone. we'll see what happens. maybe not. isn't that an interesting dynamic. there's a lot of chumminess and the current vice president and the current second lady are quietly standing in the background. they're there, doing what needs to be done, but there doesn't seem to be the same comradery. >> look, i don't want to look backward too much, but two days before the terrorist attack on the capitol mike pence was down in georgia -- vice president
pence was down in georgia continuing the big lie, talking about the election and suggesting there was fraud when there was not. he was part of the problem even if he got religion since. here is the vice president-elect kamala harris and her husband, soon-to-be second gentleman, doug emhoff. >> as they walk down the stairs here, this is a major, major moment for this country. and it's a major moment in american history, the first african-american and south asian and woman to ever hold this position. the first second gentleman ever, doug emhoff. these two will both be making history in their own ways. in many ways kamala harris has been very cognizant of nodding to that in a lot of symbolism we'll see later today in what
she's wearing, wearing two black designers today, but also taking the oath of office from supreme court justice sonia sotomayor, the first latina supreme court justice. but like her, was a prosecutor earlier in her career and is someone who kamala harris says has inspired her trajectory as she rose in the ranks of american politics. >> we just saw pete buttigieg, the former south bend, indiana mayor. there is former president clinton saying hello to the vice president, mike pence. >> the acting deputy house sergeant at arms, kevin grubbs and deputy senate sergeant at arms, private first class eugene o. goodman. >> getting a hero's welcome. he's the capitol police officer who helped bait the wild mob away from the senate. that's him right there.
a veteran. he is an american hero and has been honored with a promotion and the nation's gratitude. he will be escorting vice president-elect kamala harris as a recognition of his valor and his heroism. >> the next time those doors open will be real history. >> ladies and gentlemen, the vice president-elect of the united states, kamala debbie harris and mr. douglas emhoff. ♪ ♪
>> this is a major moment for american history, for world history, for the country as kamala harris walks down the stairs, soon to become the next vice president of the united states. i want to make a note about the color she's wearing, not to be trite about it. kamala harris is wearing purple, something pretty significant to her when she ran for president. one of her colors of her campaign was purple and yellow. that is a nod to shirley chisholm who ran for president as a black woman decades ago and has inspired her political career. >> '72, 1972. >> you see kamala harris nodding to this major moment in american history for so many women, people of color, for her
sorority sisters in alpha kappa alpha, incorporated. standing there right next to mike pence, current vice president of the united states. the two have spoken on the phone in just the last few days, but other than that, have not had a lot of contact since she became vice president-elect. >> you can't see her entire face because of the covid crisis. there she is saying hi to jim clyburn, the house majority whip, the dean of the south carolina congressional delegation. this is a historical moment. highest ranking black member of congress in history, talking, chatting. he just lost his wife not long ago. chatting with kamala harris, this historical figure, the first black woman to ever be a vice president of the united states.
>> and not just that. jim clyburn is the reason those two people are there today. he helped boost joe biden. look at kamala harris' face. you can see she's obviously greeting people. you can see that the vice president-elect is trying to take it in. you saw earlier, and she's doing it now. she kind of looked up. you almost can see her thinking to herself, i need to remember this. i need to take this moment in. she'll see the pictures and so forth afterwards. but i can't even imagine what an out-of-body experience it is for her. >> it's a moment of history she's making yet again as someone who has done this in a lot of her positions, being the first black woman, the first south asian woman to hold several of the positions she's had in her life, back when she was a prosecutor in california. she was one of just a handful of black united states senators,
and now she will be the first black woman, south asian woman to be vice president of the united states. >> as the ceremony continues, let's go to wolf blitzer right now. >> there you go. you can see the president-elect of the united states, dr. jill biden, they'll be walking in as well. they'll be introduced. this is the first time we're seeing them inside the congress. they're introducing the congressional leadership, john, the democrats and republicans. i want to alert our viewers that we're also going to be having some excellent -- truly excellent musical presentations. lady gaga will sing the national anthem. jennifer lopez will do some special musical selections and garth brooks as well. in the meantime, let's get ready for the president-elect of the united states. >> an american celebration with the world watching, soon-to-be
president of the united states, joe biden walking out with his wife jill biden. two weeks ago we were watching thugs run through these halls. now we're watching the military honor guard there as the former vice president, former senator, soon-to-be president of the united states, soon-to-be first lady jill biden. election of joe biden, now the inauguration of joe biden. what a moment, the wait on this new president in the middle of a pandemic, with an economy bleeding jobs, a country so divided that supporters of the former president, soon-to-be former president attacked that building two weeks ago today. just a remarkable moment. the weight of the presidency about to pass on to joe biden. >> evan osnos is with us, the biden biographer. this must be so, so moving, so, so exceptional for this man. >> it's extraordinary. here he is, 48 years after he entered this. the oldest president of the
united states, facing enormous challenges. i'm reminded of what he said in 2008 of the democratic national convention. he said failure at some point in life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable. that has indeed been the text of his life and it's led him right here to the doorstep of history. >> the inaugural ceremony is about to get under way. we're about to hear the horns, about to hear the president-elect and the future first lady of the united states introduced, and this ceremony will begin. there you see the congressional leadership. it's about to begin right now. this is one of those moments. it's getting chilly out there as well i can actually see a few snow flurries coming in as well. i'm sure they're all anxious to get this under way. let's listen in as they're introducing more leaders in the congress.
>> please welcome the honorable amy klobuchar. >> vice president pence, mr. president-elect, madam vice president-elect, members of congress and the judicial branch, former presidents and first ladies, vice presidents, leaders from abroad and a whole bunch of bidens, america, welcome to the 59th presidential inauguration where in just a few moments joe biden and kamala harris will take their solemn oaths. this ceremony is the culmination of 244 years of a democracy.
it is a moment when leaders brought to the stage by the will of the people promise to be faithful to our constitution, to cherish it and defend it. it is the moment when they become, as we all should be, guardians of our country. have we become too jaded, too accustomed to the ritual of the passing of the torch of democracy to truly appreciate what a blessing and a privilege it is to witness this moment? i think not. two weeks ago when an angry violent mob staged an insurrection and desecrated this temple of our democracy, it awakened us to our responsibilities as americans. this is the day when our democracy picks itself up, brushes off the dust and does what america always does, goes
forward as a nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. [ cheers and applause ] >> this conveyance of a sacred trust between our leaders and our people takes place in front of this shining capitol dome for a reason. when abraham lincoln gave his first inaugural address in front of this capitol, the dome was only partially constructed, braced by ropes of steel. he promised he would finish it. he was criticized for spending funds on it during the civil war. to those critics he replied, if the people see the capitol going on, it is a sign we intend the union shall go on. and it did, and it will. generations of americans gave their lives to preserve our republic in this place. great legislation to protect civil rights and economic
security and lead the world was debated and crafted under this dome. now it falls on all of us, not just the two leaders we are naug rating today, to take up the torch of our democracy, not as a weapon of political arson but as an instrument for good. we pledge today never to take our democracy for granted as we celebrate its remarkable strength. we celebrate its resilience, its grit. we celebrate the ordinary people doing extraordinary things for our nation, the doctors and nurses on the front line of this pandemic, the officers in the capitol, a new generation never giving up hope for justice. we celebrate a new president, joe biden, who vows to restore the soul of america and cross the river of our divides to a higher plane. and we celebrate our first
african-american, first asian-american and first woman vice president, kamala harris, who stands on the shoulders of so many on this platform, who have forged the way to this day. when she takes the oath of office little girls and boys across the world will know that anything and everything is possible. and in the end, that is america. our democracy, a country of so much good, and today, on these capitol steps and before this glorious field of flags, we rededicate ourselves to its cause. thank you. [ applause ] >> it is now my honor to introduce to you the senator who has worked with me and so many others to make this ceremony possible, my friend and the chair of the inaugural committee, missouri senator, roy
blunt. >> well, i should have known when senator klobuchar got involved, at least there would be a touch of snow up here this morning. of all the things we considered, i don't think snow was on my agenda until i walked out the door a moment ago. but thank you senator klobuchar, and thanks to the other members of the joint congressional committee on the inauguration, as we officially begin the 59th inaugural ceremony. i want to thank the joint committee staff and our partners, particularly our security partners for the way they've dealt with unprecedented circumstances. when i chaired the inauguration four years ago, i shared president reagan's 1981
description of this event as commonplace and miraculous. commonplace because we've done it every four years since 1789. miraculous because we've done it every four years since 1789. americans have celebrated this moment during war, during depression, and now during pandemic. once again, all three branches of our government come together as the constitution envisions. once again, we renew our commitment to our determined democracy, forging a more perfect union. that theme for this inauguration, our determined democracy, forging a more perfect union, was announced by the joint committee before the election with the belief that the united states can only fulfill its promise and set an example for others if we are always working to be better than
we have been. the constitution established that determined democracy with its first three words, declaring the people as the source of the government. the articles of confederation hadn't done that. the magna carta hadn't done that. only the constitution says the government exists because the people are the source of the reason it exists. they immediately followed those first three words with the words "to form a more perfect union." the founders did not say to form a perfect union. they did not claim that in our new country nothing would need to be improved. fortunately they understood that always working to be better would be the hallmark of a great democracy. the freedoms we have today, the nation we have today is not here just because it happened, and
they aren't complete. a great democracy, working through the successes and failures of our history, striving to be better than it had been. and we are more than we have been, and we are less than we hope to be. the assault on our capitol at this very place two weeks ago, reminds us that a government to balance and check itself, is both fragile and resilient. during the last year, the pandemic challenged our free and open society and called for extraordinary determination and sacrifice and still challenges us today. meeting that challenge head on have been and are health care workers, scientists, first responders, essential frontline workers and so many others we depend on in so many ways. today we come to this moment. people all over the world, as we're here, are watching and
will watch what we do here. our government comes together. the congress and the courts join the transition of executive responsibility. one political party pleased today, and on every inaugural day, than the other. but this is not a moment of division. it's a moment of unification. a new administration begins and brings with it a new beginning. and with that our great national deb baste goes forward and a determined democracy will continue to be more essential in pursuit of a more perfect union and a better future for all americans. what a privilege for me to join you today. thank you. i'm pleased to call to the podium father leo o'donovan to lead us in an invocation. please stand if you're able and remain standing for the national
general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. we are a people of many races, creeds and colors, national backgrounds, cultures and styles, now far more numerous and on land much faster than when archbishop john carroll wrote his prayer for the inauguration of george washington 232 years ago. archbishop carroll prayed that you, o creator of all, would assist with your holy spirit of counsel and fortitude of these president of the united states, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness and be eminently useful to your people. today we confess our past failures to live according to our vision of equality,
inclusion and freedom for all. yet we resolutely commit still more now to renewing the vision, to caring for one another in word and deed, especially the least fortunate among us. and so becoming a light for the world. there is a power in each and every one of us that lives by turning to every other one of us, a trust of the spirit to cherish and care and stand by others and, above all, those most in need. it is called love. its path is to give evermore of itself. today it is called american patriotism, born not of power and privilege but of care for the common good, with malice toward none and with charity for
all. for ow new president, we beg of you the wisdom, when he knelt before you and prayed for an understanding heart so i can govern your people and know the difference between right and wrong. we trust in the counsel of the letter of james. if any of you clieks wisdom, you should ask god who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. pope francis has reminded us how important it is to dream together. by ourselves he wrote, we risk seeing mirages, things that are not there. dreams, on the other hand, are built together. be with us, holy mystery of love, as we dream together.
help us under our new president to reconcile the people of our land, restore our dream and invest it with peace and justice and the joy that is the overflow of love. to the glory of your name, forever, amen. >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing for the presentation of our national colors by the armed forces color guard, the singing of our national anthem and for the
[ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome from the city of south fulton, georgia fire and rescue department, president of the international association of firefighters local 3920, fire captain andrea m. hall for the reciting of the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic
for which it stands one nation under god indivisible with liberty and justice for all. [ applause ] >> what you are all about to be part of, america, is a historic moment of firsts. to administer the oath to our first african-american, our first asian-american and our first woman vice president kamala harris, it is my great privilege to welcome to the inaugural stage the first latina to ever serve on the supreme
court of the united states of america, justice sonia sotomayor. >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing for the oath of office followed by musical honors. >> please raise your right hand and repeat after me. i kamala davie harris. >> i do kamala davie harris do solemnly swear. >> that i will support and defend the constitution of the united states. >> that i will support and defend the constitution of the united states. >> against all enemies foreign and domestic. >> against all enemies foreign and domestic. >> that i will bare true faith and allegiance to the same. >> that i will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. >> that i take this obligation
freely. >> that i take this obligation freely. >> without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. >> without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. >> that i will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which i'm about to enter. >> the duties of the office upon which i'm about to enter. >> so help me god. >> so help me god. [ cheers and applause ]. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
[ cheers and applause ] >> well, that was great. the sun is shining, and mr. president-elect, this is the first inauguration in the history of america where j. lo was the warm act for chief justice roberts. with that, it is now my distinct honor to introduce the chief justice of the supreme court of the united states, john roberts, to administer the presidential oath to the next president of the united states, joseph r. biden. [ cheers and applause ]. >> ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the oath of office
followed by musical honors . >> please raise your right hand and repeat after me. i joseph robinette, jr. do solemnly swear that i will faithfully execute. >> that i will faithfully execute. >> the office of president of the united states. >> the office of president of the united states. >> and will to the best of my ability. >> and will to the best of my ability. >> preserve protect and defend. >> preserve, protect and defend. >> the constitution of the united states. >> the constitution of the
>> chief justice roberts, vice president harris -- [ applause ] speaker pelosi, leader schumer, leader mcconnell, vice president pence, my distinguished guests, my fellow americans, this is america's day. this is democracy's day, a day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve. through a crucible for the ages america has been tested anew, and america has risen to the challenge. today we celebrate the triumph, not of a candidate, but of a
cause, the cause of democracy. the people, the will of the people, has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded. we've learned again that democracy is precious. democracy is fragile. and at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed. [ applause ] for now on this hallowed ground where just a few days ago violence sought to shake the capital's very foundation, we come together one nation under god, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries. as we look ahead in our uniquely american way, restless, bold,
optimistic and set our sights on the nation we know we can be and we must be. i thank my predecessors of both parties for their presence here today. i thank them from the bottom of my heart. and i know -- [ applause ] and i know the resilience of our constitution and the strength, the strength of our nation, as does president carter, who i spoke with last night but cannot be with us today, but whom we salute for his lifetime and service. [ applause ] i've just taken the sacred oath each of those patriots have taken. the oath first sworn by george washington. but the american story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us, on
we the people, who seek a more perfect union. this is a great nation. we are good people. and over the centuries, through storm and strife, in peace and in war, we've come so far, but we still have far to go. we'll press forward with speed and urgency, for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibilities. much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build, and much to gain. few people in our nation's history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we're in now. once in a century virus, it silently stalks the country. it's taken as many lives in one year as america lost in all of
world war ii. millions of jobs have been lost. hundreds of thousands of businesses closed. a cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making moves us. the dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer. [ applause ] a cry for survival comes from planet itself. a cry that can't be any more desperate or any more clear, and now arise political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat. [ applause ] to overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of america requires so much more than words and requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy, unity. unity.
in another january on new year's day in 1863, abraham lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation. when he put pen to paper, the president said, and i quote, if my name ever goes down in history, it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it. my whole soul is in it. today, on this january day, my whole soul is in this, bringing america together, uniting our people, uniting our nation. and i ask every american to join me in this cause. [ applause ] uniting to fight the foes we face. anger, resentment and hatred, extremism, lawlessness,
violence, disease, joblessness and hopelessness. with unity we can do great things, important things. we can right wrongs. we can put people to work in good jobs. we can teach our children in safe schools. we can overcome the deadly virus. we can reward work and rebuild the middle class and make health care secure for all. we can deliver racial justice and we can make america once again the leading force for good in the world. i know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy these days. i know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real. but i also know they are not new. our history has been a constant struggle between the american ideal that we are all created equal, and the harsh ugly reality that racism, nativism,
fear, demonization have long torn us apart. the battle is perennial, and victory is never assured. through civil war, the great depression, world war, 9/11, struggle, sacrifices, our better angels have always prevailed. in each of these moments, enough of us -- enough of us -- have come together to carry all of us forward, and we can do that now. history, faith and reason show the way, the way of unity. we can see each other, not as adversaries, but as neighbors. we can treat each other with dignity and respect. we can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature. for without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury.
no progress, only exhausting outrage. no nation, only a state of chaos. this is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward. and we must meet this moment as the united states of america. if we do that, i guarantee you, we will not fail. we have never, ever, ever, ever failed in america. we have acted together. and so today at this in this place, let's start afresh. hear one another. see one another. show respect for one another. policy doesn't have to be a raging fire destroying everything in its path.
every disagreement doesn't have to be a cause for total war. and we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated, and even manufactured. [ applause ] my fellow americans, we have to be different than this. america has to be better than this. and i believe america is so much better than this. just look around. here we stand in the shadow of the capitol dome. as it was mentioned earlier, completed amid the civil war, when the union itself was literally hanging in the balance. yet we endured. we prevailed. here we stand, looking out on the great mall where dr. king spoke of his dream. here we stand where 108 years ago at another inaugural, thousands of protesters tried to
block brave women marching for the right to vote. and today we mark the swearing in of the first woman in american history elected to national office, vice president kamala harris. don't tell me things can't change. [ applause ] here we stand across the potomac from arlington cemetery where heroes, who gave the last full measure of devotion, rest in eternal peace. and here we stand, just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the willful people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. it did not happen. it will never happen. not today. not tomorrow. not ever. not ever. [ cheers and applause ]
for all those who supported our campaign, i'm humbled by the faith you placed in us. to all those who did not support us, let me say this. hear me out as we move forward. take a measure of me and my heart. if you still disagree, so be it. that's democracy. that's america. the right to dissent peaceably within the guardrails of our republic is perhaps this nation's greatest strength. yet hear me clearly. disagreement must not lead to disunion. and i pledge this to you. i will be a president for all americans. all americans. [ applause ] and i promise you, i will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did. [ applause ]
many centuries ago, saint augusta, a saint in my church, wrote that a people was a multitude defined by the common objects of their love. defined by the common objects of their love. what are the common objects we as americans love that define us as americans? i think we know. opportunity. security. liberty. dignity. respect. honor. and, yes, the truth. [ applause ] recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. there is truth and there are lies. lies told for power and for profit. and each of us has a duty and a responsibility as citizens, as americans, and especially as leaders, leaders who have pledged to honor our constitution and protect our nation, to defend the truth and
[ inaudible ] >> as my mom would say just for a moment, stand in their shoes. because here's the thing about life. there's no accounting for what fate will deal you. some days when you need a hand, there are other days when we're called to lend a hand. that's how it has to be. it's what we do for one another. and if we are this way, our country will be stronger, more prosperous, more ready for the future, and we can still disagree.
my fellow americans, in the work ahead of us, we're going to need each other. we need all our strength to persevere through this dark winter. we're entering what may be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus. we must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation. one nation. [ applause ] and i promise you this. as the bible says, weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. we will get through this together. together. [ applause ] look, folks, all my colleagues i serve with in the house and the senate up here, we all understand the world is watching, watching all of us today. so here's my message to those beyond our borders. america has been tested, and
we've come out stronger for it. we will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again. not to meet yesterday's challenges, but today's and tomorrow's challenges. and we'll lead, not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. [ applause ] we'll be a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress and security. look, you all know, we've been through so much in this nation, and my first act as president i'd like to ask you to join me in a moment of silent prayer to remember all of those we lost this past year to the pandemic. those 400,000 fellow americans. moms, dads, husbands, wives,s
sons, daughters, friends, neighbors and coworkers. we'll honor them and become the people and nation we know we can and should be. so i ask you, let's say a silent prayer for those who have lost their lives and those left behind and for our country. amen. folks, this is a time of testing. we face an attack on our democracy and on truth. a raging virus, growing inequity, the sting of systemic racism, a climate in crisis. any one is enough to challenge us in ways. the fact is we face them all at once, presenting this nation
with one of the gravest responsibilities we've had. now we're going to be tested. are we going to step up, all of us? it's time for boldness, for there is so much to do. and this is certain. i promise you, we will be judged, you and i, by how we resolve these cascading crises of our era. we will rise to the occasion is the question. will we master this rare and difficult hour? will we meet our obligations and pass along a new and better world to our children? i believe we must. i'm sure you do as well. i believe we will. and when we do, we'll write the next great chapter in the history of the united states of america, the american story, a story that might sound something like a song that means a lot to me. it's called american anthem.
there's one verse that stands out, at least for me, and it goes like this. the work and prayers of century have brought us to this day. what shall be our legacy, what will our children say. let me know in my heart when my days are through. america, america, i gave my best to you. let's add, let's us add our own work and prayers to the unfolding story of our great nation. if we do this, then when our days were through, our children and our children's children will say of us, they gave their best. they did their duty. they healed a broken land. my fellow americans, i close today where i began, with the sacred oath before god and all of you, i give you my word.
i will always level with you. i will defend the constitution. i'll defend our democracy. i'll defend america. and i'll all, all of you, keep everything i do in your service, thinking not of power, but of possibilities. not of personal interest, but the public good. and together we shall write an american story of hope, not fear, of unity, not division. of light, not darkness. a story of decency and dignity, love and healing, greatness and goodness. may this be the story that guides us, the
>> hard not to be reminded of president obama singing that same song at the mother emanuel church. [ applause ] a song that in our culture is as close to poetry and prayer as you could possibly come. and we're going to finish with those two things. let me introduce amanda gorman, our nation's first-ever poet laureate. [ applause ] [ cheers and applause ]
>> mr. president, dr. biden, madam vice president, mr. emhoff, americans and the world. when day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade. the loss we carry, a sea we must wade. we braved the belly of the beast. we learned that quiet isn't always peace, and the norms and notions of what just is isn't always justice. and yet the dawn is ours before we knew it. somehow we do it. somehow we weathered and witnessed a nation that isn't broken, but simply unfinished. we, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny black girl descended from slaves and
raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one. and, yes, we are far from polished, but that doesn't mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect. we are striechving to forge our union with purpose. to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man. and so we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. we close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. we lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. we seek harm to none and harmony for all. let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true.
that even as we grieved, we grew. that even as we hurt, we hoped. that even as we tired, we tried, that we'll forever be tied together victorious. not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division. scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall shut under their own vine and fig tree and no one shall make them afraid. if we're to live up to our own time, then victory won't lie in the blade, but all the bridges we've made. that is the promise to glade. the hill we climb, if only we dare, it's because being american is more than a pride we inherit. it's the past we step into and how we repair it. we've seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it. would destroy our country if it
meant delaying democracy. and this effort very nearly succeeded. but while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated. in this truth, in this faith we trust, for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us. this is the era of just redemption. we feared at its inception, we did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour. but in it we found the power to author a new chapter. to offer hope and laughter to ourselves. so, while once we asked how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe, now we assert, how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us? we will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be,
a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free. we will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will become the future. but one thing is certain. if we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy, and change our children's birthright. so let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left. with every breath my bronze pounded chest, we will raise with wounded world into a wondrous one. we will rise to the golden hills of the west. we will rise from the windswept north, east where our forefathers first realized revolution. we will rise from the cities of the midwestern states.
we will rise from the sun baked south. we will rebuild, reconcile and recover. and every known nook of our nation and every corner called our country, our people diverse and beautiful, will emerge battered and beautiful. when day comes, we step out of the shade of flame unafraid. the new dawn balloons as we free it for there is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it. if only we're brave enough to be it. [ cheers and applause ] >> thank you, amanda gorman. now for our benediction, i'm
pleased to introduce the president of the bethel african methodist episcopal church in wilmington, delaware, a friend of president biden for 30 years. >> as a nation and people of faith gathered in this historical moment, let us unite in prayer. god, we gather under the beauty of your holiness and the holiness of your beauty. we seek your face, your smile, your warm embrace. we petition you once more in
this celebration. we pray for divine favor upon our president, joseph r. biden, and our first lady dr. jill biden and their family. we further ask that you would extend the same favor upon our vice president kamala d. harris and our second gentleman doug emhoff and their family, more than ever, more than ever, they and our nation need you. we need you, for in you we discover our common humanity and our common humanity, we will seek out the wounded and bind their wounds. we will seek healing for those who are sick and diseased. we will mourn our dead.
we will befriend the lonely, the least and the left out. we will share our abundance with those who are hungry. we will do justly to the oppressed, acknowledge sin, and seek forgiveness, thus grasping reconciliation. in discovering our humanity, we will seek the good in and for all our neighbors. we will love the unlovable, remove the stigma of the so-called untouchables. we will care for our most vulnerable, our children, the elderly, emotionally challenged and the poor. we will seek rehabilitation beyond correction. we'll extend opportunity for those locked out of opportunity. we will make friends of our enemies. we will make friends of our enemies. people, your people, shall no
longer raise up weapons against one another. we will rather use our resources for the national good and become a beacon of life and good will to the world. and neither shall we learn hatred any more. we will lie down in peace, and not make our neighbors afraid. in you, oh, god, we discover our huma humanity. in humanity we discover our commonness. beyond the difference of color, creed, origin, political party, ideology, geography and personal preferences, we'll become greater stewards of your environment, preserving the land, reaping from it a sustainable harvest, and securing its wonder and miracle-giving power for generations to come. this is our benediction, that
from these hallowed grounds where slaves labored to build this shrine and citadel to liberty ask and democracy. let us all acknowledge from the indigenous native american to those who recently received their citizenship. from the african-american to those whose foreparents came from europe and every corner of the globe. from the wealthy to those struggling to make it. from every human being, regardless of their choices, that this is our country. as such, teach us, oh, god -- as such, teach us, oh, god, to live in it, love in it, be healed in it, and reconcile to one another in it, lest we miss kingdom's
♪ ♪ >> announcer: ladies and gentlemen, please be seated and remain in your seats while the president and official party depart the platform. for safety reasons, your ushers will release your section in an organized manner following the playing of our national march, the "stars and stripes" forever. >> president joe biden now the 46th president of the united states, putting his soul into his first address, calling for americans to end what he's calling their uncivil war that pits red versus blue. seeking us to treat each other with dignity and respect.
this was an address like no other on an inauguration day like no other where the nation saw its first woman vice president and woman of color sworn in, and the world witnessed democracy withstand one of its greatest tests. >> absolutely, wolf. two weeks after that very same sight was desecrated by a domestic terrorist mob trying to stop democracy in its tracks, the united states and, in fact, the world was treated to a beautiful demonstration of the steadfastness of that democracy, an inaugural full of incredible moments. we saw the exquisite eloquence of the youngest inaugural poet of all time, amanda gorman. we saw and heard musical performances by lady gaga and jennifer lopez and garth brooks. we saw the oath of office by the first female vice president of the united states ever, vice
president kamala harris. and then most importantly, of course, we saw the steely determination and compassion of president joe biden who called for unity. he called for empathy. he asked for those who did not vote for him to hear him out. he had a moment of silence in honor of all those lost to the coronavirus. and he also took a moment to denounce problems that he sees in society, problems that i have never heard denounced in such a way during inauguration. white supremacy he called out, the corrosive belief and toxic belief of that bigotry. and he also talked about the challenge of lies and facts that are manipulated, which is also corrosive element of society, corrosive force that right now poses political challenges. it was a very spectacular inaugural in some ways, and it was also a very somber and serious one.
>> absolutely. and it was one that was very, very joe biden. and when i say that it was authentic, it was -- his speech was so sincere, and that sincerity matched the times and matched the moment. and, you know, there are times when we watch this ceremony when it's a bit dischordant. it couldn't be more harmonious with what joe biden is, what his message is and what is needed for these times. obviously that's a reason why he's there. but he touched on historical moments, talking about abraham lincoln, of course referring to the last time the country was as divided as it is now. when he signed the emancipation proclamation, he said my whole soul is in it. joe biden said, my whole soul is
in this. i want to bring -- >> thank you. >> more important than that as we watch the now president and first lady walk through the capitol. even more important than that, he issued a challenge. he can't do this by himself. he issued a challenge to americans who voted for him, who didn't vote for him. it called for action, and that action is to reach across the aisle, to reach out to your neighbor, to be a part of the unity that he's calling for. and this is something that -- >> thank you very much. thank you. >> something the country had been craving. it was not an ideological wish list. it was not a partisan speech. it was an invitation, not just to reach across the aisle, but to get back on track. it was an invitation to decency, to civility. it was about the poor foundation of democracy and not so much about politics really. and that's really remarkable because this is a deeply divided
partisan time, but it's also that joe biden is leading a democratic party that has a lot of pent-up energy right now. they want a lot of things done. clearly he stated with this inaugural address, he believes the number one priority and challenge that he faces is uniting the country. but not just uniting the country, but bringing both sides of the aisle back to this place where civility is the norm, where all of these things that we saw on gory display two weeks ago are no longer part of our politics. that is a tall order, and i think it really goes well beyond politics. and that was the message today. and i thought amanda gorman's poem profoundly, profoundly spoke to that moment and spoke to the challenge that this country faces. the combination of those two, the president's address and also
that inaugural poem i think was a very powerful statement about where we are as a country, but where i think we need to go potentially in order to get back to a place where, you know, white supremacy, racism, the things that exploded onto the scene can be put back into their corners or even eradicated from our society. >> anderson, i think if there is one line in the inaugural address that sums it all up, he quotes abraham lincoln after signing the emancipation proclamation and says, my whole soul is in it. that's what lincoln said. today on this january day, my wh whole soul is in this, bringing america together, uniting our people, uniting our nation. anderson? >> we're just watching president obama with hillary clinton, secretary of state in the obama administration. evan osnos. you've heard a lot of biden's
speeches. what did you think today? >> this is a direct outgrowth of the life and politics he's practiced for so long. what you heard him say is democracy is fragile. democracy is precious, and in a sense joe biden's life has been about the recognition that things are fragile. things we care about, the people we care about, the lives that matter to us and our families and in this country. he said history, faith and reason will show the way. those have been the guiding lights for him in his life. and to think that we have to announce the importance of reason today is a reminder of just how fragile that is in our society. and then he also, of course, laid this challenge before us, i think as dana said, not only to hear me out. give me a chance. but also to all of us when he said, don't tell me things can't change. and that gets to that basic fundamental optimism that he has where he says, look, this was a frank speech about the problems facing us. it is called -- about through a dark winter as he described it, and a broken land.
but don't tell me things can change. and that right there is the idea that it is upon alamel of our shoulders if we're going to permit the idea things can get better. >> president obama, lady gaga talking. van jones, biden spoke a lot -- president biden spoke a lot about truth and about facts and lies. >> you know, he spoke from the depth of his soul, and we needed this. that was beautiful. beauty heals. beauty heals. there was not one part of that that wasn't just medicine in the wound. and if you have any doubt that one person can make a difference, that one person's voice, one person's commitment, one person's bedrock faith can be the pivot point for a nation, just watch that speech again and look at how the country responds. you know, i also just want to point out, you know, having kamala harris, you know, put her hand on that bible, there have been 92 people who have put
their hands on a bible. of 44 presidents, 48 vice presidents, never a female hand has touched that alibible. him picking her and helping move history along, and he talked about all those young people were protesting and all those young people out there who were registering voters, he said there is a cry for racial justice 400 years in the making, honoring that. so you have a president that can bring in all these young people, lift up people suffering and still reach out to everybody else, i thought it was an extraordinary beautiful moment in this country and it was needed today. >> this speech was pure joe biden. and the people who wrote it with him have worked for him with decades and know him pretty well. and there was one line that really struck me, because it could have been a line that you receive from your father, your mother. he said, here's the thing about life. there's no accounting what fate will deal you.
and from that we understand what fate dealt joe biden and how he overcame, all of that tragedy in his life. and in a way today, by being so optimistic and saying to us, we must end this uncivil war, here is a man who gave americans permission to feel good about who we are and what we can become again. and there is -- that is something we've heard from joe biden over the years, during a campaign. and then there was a moment at the beginning of the inaugural speech that was also pure biden, where he made a reference to shamis heemy, the famous irish poet. he said this is america's day, history and hope. what the poem talks about says the long tidal wave of justice can rise up and hope and history
can rhyme. i think that's how he sees this moment for himself, a moment of hope and a moment of history. >> it's interesting, hillary clinton, lady gaga we're seeing, j-lo speaking with the obamas, there's nancy pelosi. david axelrod? >> you know, as someone who, i worked with him several years in the white house and the campaign before the white house. and so much of what i heard is so familiar to me. that speech was written within the four corners of who joe biden is and who joe biden is is what the country needs right now. decency, empathy, the things that he emphasized there. i was also interested in that he said every disagreement does not have to be the cause for war. and i think he was not just addressing the country, but his colleagues sitting behind him. and i notice that he addressed them and said, all my colleagues, we all understand the world is watching. >> he also said we must end this uncivil war. >> yes. i think there was a real --
look, not everybody is going to receive this speech the way he intended. i think there is a real hunger in this country for community, and he is a president and he is a human being who sees in others common humanity. and this speech was about our common humanity as human beings, our common obligations as americans to each other, to our children. you know, this was just such a breath of fresh air that we desperately needed after this horrific experience we've just been through. >> obama. wolf, joe biden, 46th president of the united states. >> joe biden becomes the 46th president of the united states. donald trump is now the former president of the united states. he's a private citizen. we're watching what's about to unfold. we're going to see the departure for the vice president, mike pence and karen pence, his wife, and the new vice president of the united states, kamala harris, and her husband doug
emhoff. they're going to escort the now former vice president to his limousine that's waiting below and he'll be leaving this area. you know, john, what we heard from the vice president was so powerful in the sense that he kept saying things along the lines, stop the shouting. lower the temperature. unity is the path forward. >> can he sustain it, wolf? that's a giant challenge with the country so divided. with the congress so evenly divided. but what a powerful beginning. i think powerful is the great word you use there. these images are powerful. mike pence now the former vice president, being escorted out by the new and historic vice president. let's just watch this play out .
>> laughter right there, you heard the laughter between the new history-making vice president kamala harris and mike pence, laughter on the steps of the building. one week ago president trump was impeached a second time. he was under attack and some supporters were chanting, "hang mike pence." what a moment. can joe biden's message of unity last? we will get to all of that. today is so important in the changing of the guard. for those who don't have a good view in the end, he decided to do the right thing. this would traditionally be donald trump and joe biden walking down the steps. joe biden saying thank you and farewell to the former president. donald trump, for whatever reason, you can insert your own, decided not to be here. he disrespected tradition, disrespected norm. we see the vice president, history making vice president, saying farewell and thank you and sharing a laugh, wolf, with
mike pence. again, after the past four years of partisan divide, after the way -- you see the wave there. as jake noted earlier, just a little more than a week ago, mike pence was still trying to support the president's case there was fraud in the election. whatever, we can litigate that on another day. in this day and recent days, he has decided to do the right thing and here you see just the passing of the torch. it's not the image we're supposed to be seeing. this should be former president trump getting onto a helicopter to leave town, but he decided he did not want to be part of this great american tradition. mike pence came. you see the wave there. part of what the new president, joe biden, is trying to signal that, yes, we're in the middle of these colliding crises, the pandemic, a struggling economy, the political divide. two weeks ago an attempted insurrection. can we try, can we just try to talk to each other, respect each other, workout our differences politely? ag again, the history there, too, first woman, first woman of color, is vice president of the
united states. a very important part, what an amazing picture on this powerful day. >> and the president of the united states, president biden set which is basically when he said we will get through this together. and then he repeated a line he has often said and there we see the vice president and her husband doug emhoff walking back up these stairs. when he said, i will fight as hard for those who didn't support me as those who did. very important effort to try to reestablish some sort of unity in this country, jake. it's going to be difficult. there's no doubt about that. >> absolutely. and what could have been a more beautiful demonstration of the idea of hope and a new era of turning a page from a period in this country that was dark and desperate for so many people because of the coronavirus, because of divisions in this country, because of white
supremacists, violence, because of the violence we saw two weeks ago. then the youngest inaugural poet ever, amanda gorman, who is either 22 or 23, we're not quite sure. and just summed up with emotion and beautiful eloquence the idea of what this country came close to losing a couple weeks ago. it's not easy to write an inaugural poem. she not only did and delivered it with tremendous poise and grace, but she also -- it was an incredibly relevant and timely. >> and it was timely because, according to "the new york times," she was about halfway through it when january 6th happened at the capitol and finished the poem that night, inspired or perhaps propelled by what she saw. and there was a line in the
poem, we've seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy. so much of the poem was directly relevant to what we all experienced two weeks ago. and for a 22-year-old to capture that and capture all of the history and the meaning of what our democracy should mean i think was really extraordinary to see. she's from los angeles, has ties to california like the now vice president of the united states, and my alma mater harvard university. she's clearly a brilliant wordsmith, really able to capture not just the moment we're in, but the feeling. >> yes. >> the feeling of anxiety about our democracy, but also hope about what it's supposed to be. >> this is hardly poetry, but she was a showstopper.
it was the kind of thing where she had prose. she had the oratory. >> chris coons, senator from delaware there. >> we're going to watch this as we talk about amanda gorman. but she, she really just absolutely had everybody, everybody's attention because of how fantastic she was. as i was saying, not just in how she wrote the poem, but in how she delivered it. we could sit here all day picking out some of the great lines. one is, there is always light if only we are brave enough to see it, if only we are brave enough to be it. that line alone is just beautiful and so, so appropriate. >> and really just summed up what i think was so distressing in it an existential way about what we saw two weeks ago. obviously witnessing any sort of violence is hideous, but what we saw two weeks ago in the same building that we are looking at
right now -- there is senator corey booker, democrat of new jersey. in the same building was an attempt to undermine democracy, an attempt to steal democracy. that's what was being attempted. the domestic terrorists, the maga terrorists were trying to stop the constitutional counting and certification of votes so that donald trump would stay as president, even though he had lost the election. and her summary of that, her eloquence describing that at an event that's celebrated actually the continued strength of that democracy was just beautiful. >> today is also about, as several of the speakers today have mentioned, the fragility of it all, you know? >> yes. >> as joe biden said in his speech, democracy is precious. democracy is fragile.
and at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed. but i think today as we sit here and we watch this incredible ceremony just be completed, it is such a reminder that we came so close -- >> at this hour democracy has prevailed. that's what so interesting about that sentence that jumped out at me, too, abby. at this hour it prevailed. maybe next time it won't. >> as you've pointed out repeatedly, had we had a republican house of representatives led by kevin mccarthy, would we be sitting here today discussing the transfer of power, though it was not peaceful? and so that is the theme so many people have brought up today. >> sorry about that, abby. i just want to point out one other thing amanda gorman told npr. she said when she was looking into how to write this, she studied people like winston churchill on ways rhetoric has been used for good, ways that rhetoric has been used for good. talk about a study in contrasts.
that speaks for itself. >> yeah, the challenge, of course, for president biden and vice president harris as well as those who have stood for democracy, including majority leader schumer and minority leader mcconnell is how to deal with a political party, specifically house republicans, but also some senate republicans that are against democracy, have been acting to undermine it. that's going to be a real challenge going forward. wolf? >> yeah, it's going to be a huge challenge despite the words that we just heard from president biden. jeff zeleny is watching all this unfold. jeff, i know you've been doing extensive reporting on what we anticipated would be in his remarks, and i think you were right. what we heard was what we anticipated, an effort to try to bring the country together after this long period of partisanship and division. >> wolf, it is exactly what joe biden has been talking about since the very moment he got into this race.
but no one could have imagined the moment this would be today. but i am told that since election day on november 3rd, since he became, you know, the absolute victor on november 7th, the speech has grown in one respect. he always knew he would talk about unity. that was a central theme, of course, in his victory speech back in wilmington, delaware, on the night of -- saturday night, november 7th. b but what has changed is truth. . the theme of truth really emerged in the last several weeks as all of the events transpired with president trump questioning the result of the election. and certainly the attack right here two weeks ago at this very hour. but truth, i'm told, became a more emerging theme in recent weeks. it also allowed him to talk about president trump without uttering his name, without saying his name, without giving him any voice. again, we know that president trump is not someone who president biden obsesses over, but he did want to squarely
point out what he believes is a cancer on this country and society, and that is a lack of agreed upon facts and truth. so that is where and how truth became such a central theme of all of this. and i am told, talking with a couple advisers during this ceremony, that this is the reason that president biden wanted to deliver this address outside here, looking out over the national mall. he was urged by some to have his address inside the capitol, as ronald regan did when it was so cold in his second inaugural. but he wanted to do it outside to project a sense of normalcy, to talk about history. so president biden prevailed on that. and the sun started shining during his ceremony, wolf. now he's still in the capitol here and the hard work begins. >> the hard work begins. in fact, some of that hard work is going to begin later today. the day is only just beginning. they're going to be heading to
arlington cemetery for a wreath laying at the tomb of the unknown soldier. the new president will be there with president obama, bush 43, and clinton. there will also be this huge virtual parade, a parade across america with performers from all 50 states, six territories, that will be significant. then the new president will sign a whole bunch of executive orders, getting rid of several, several decisions, several policy decisions, executive orders signed by the now former president of the united states. and then later tonight, a primetime performance. it's going to be a celebration, an inaugural concert that cnn will, of course, have live coverage of throughout the night. so our coverage is going to continue for hours and hours, and you're going to want to see this historic day unfold. jamie is getting gop reaction to president biden's speech. what are you hearing? >> wolf, i spoke to a half dozen different republicans, including some former trump administration
officials. and i heard the same thing from all of them, which, quote, few, we can all exhale, moving on. one former trump administration official said this is, quote, a new chapter literally coming together. on a lighter note, there were two officials. one said chief justice roberts looks relieved. and another republican said, he -- [ inaudible ] . and just finally, i heard this throughout the day from a lot of republicans who were texting me who said they were actually glad that donald trump was not there. that it was important that it was joe biden's day and moving on. wolf? >> annette is with us, our new white house correspondent having covered the biden campaign, the
biden transition. now she'll be covering the biden presidency. arlette, what are you bracing for? >> well, wolf, you heard president biden issuing this call to unity, which was really a hallmark from the very beginning of his campaign, when he declared this as a battle for the soul of the nation. but right after he made these calls for unity, the president also made it clear that he is ready to get right to work. in fact, both president biden and vice president harris have now tweeted from the official potus and vp accounts on twitter. he said there is no time to waste tackling the crises we face. that is why i'm heading to the oval office to get right to work delivering bold action and immediate relief for american families. now, later this afternoon the president will spend some time in the oval office where he will be signing some executive orders, some of them undoing policies from the trump administration, including reversing that ban on travelers for muslim majority countries. there will also be items
relating to the pandemic. he will be signing an executive action that would require masks in all federal buildings. he can't quite mandate masks nationwide, but he is encouraging that during this pandemic people do embrace mask wearing. and we have also heard from vice president harris on twitter who said she is ready to serve. now, it is also worth noting that biden is now part of two historic white houses. he first served alongside president obama. the first african-american to serve as president, and now biden is going to the white house and bringing with him the first woman, also black woman and south asian woman. and you heard him in his remarks say, don't tell me things can't change. and i also just want to note what an emotional moment this was for the biden family as beau biden is always top of mind for them. today the biden family will be going from wilmington to the
white house. >> very important. it was very emotional. anderson, i was especially moved when we heard the new president say and do something that we probably never heard the former president say. he offered a silent prayer in memory of the 400,000 americans who have lost their lives to this coronavirus. >> you're watching there the clintons heading off from the inauguration. want to bring in cnn contributor kate anderson broward, cnn presidential historian tim naftali. tim, just from a standpoint of history and other inaugural addresses, other inaugural events -- as we see the obamas leaving as well -- what did you make of this one? >> this president biden's inaugural address was a powerful confection of lincoln, saint augustine, and joe biden.
in fact, i think it's among the most lincolnesque of the modern addresses. in quoting saint augustine, i think he laid out a path for unity. unity can be a meaningless phrase. but what he said is he wanted to -- he evoked saint augustine saying we want to find the common objects of our love. and then he defined them. respect. security, opportunity and, yes, truth. it it was his way of saying, we don't have to agree on tax policy, but what we need, what we are clamoring for now is unity on the big things that matter, the things that hold us together as america -- americans. the other note is that he made this note of american values. he was pushing against the idea that we are a hopelessly divided society with different value systems. he was driving home his belief, his hope that we really have one value system, but it is due to
misinformation and disinformation that we've had this -- we divided into these tribes. so it was a hopeful powerful message that channelled previous presidents, but with very characteristic biden-esque turns of phrase. >> kit anderson brower, for you what stood out? it wasn't just biden's speech. i mean, the entire morning has been a morning where faith has been front and center, something obviously very important in a very real way for this president. what did you make of today? >> [ inaudible ]. >> sorry, we're having problems with kate. tim, just in terms of what
happens now, the challenges that this president now faces, how does it compare to or how do you compare it to other presidents? >> great political opportunity. right now the country is desperate for a path forward through this pandemic. we know that thanks to the vaccines, we will get through this. the question is how quickly. and once we get through this, our economy, which is beginning to recover, although our unemployment rate is still high, it, too, will bounce back. and so president biden and vice president harris's first objective is one that republicans share with democrats, which is to get us through this pandemic and recover economically. so i see there remarkable
opportunity for president biden to acquire political capital if he focuses as i expect he will, on the pandemic. so that's the next step, i think. there will, of course, be other changes that he is going to make today, but his main goal will have to be dealing with the pandemic. i believe that's what america expects. and i think it's what he'll deliver. >> see if we have kate anderson -- we still don't have kate? tim, in terms of challenges, though, you know, there's the pandemic which is clearly the top priority for this administration. you know, the obama administration, when they came in, they thought they were facing perhaps the greatest challenge a president had faced in modern times or in recent history. arguably, the challenges this admini administration is facing are even greater. >> yes, there is the political
crisis. dealing with the pandemic i believe will providing an opening for dealing with the political problem. it deals with the darkness associated with january 6. he made it clear while he will be president of all people, he will not countenance violent dissent. he was extremely strong on that point, and clearly january 6th influenced this inaugural address. so i expect investigations to go forward. i hope congress will work with the executive branch, and so that the violent side of the dissent that tried to overturn our election will be dealt with. so the political crisis will not be far from his mind, but i think he's right to see a bridge to republicans that he can build while dealing with the pandemic. >> kit anderson brower, what did you think of what you heard today? >> well, i think what president
biden was trying to do was remind us of who we are as americans. and i was very struck by what he said about the exhausting outrage of the last four years, you know, that the dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer. and it will go back to these, you know, engaging in the international order and our alliances abroad. and i was also struck by what he said saluting president carter and thanking the presidents who went before him and the presidents who we'll see at arlington with him. in a way it was just getting us back to normal. and what we expect from our leadership, bringing down the temperature and ushering us through this unprecedented moment in our history where we have these dual crises happening at the same time. so i thought it was very inspirational. i thought it was good that he didn't do something that -- like f.d.r. with the new deal, where it was outlining specifics. this was more a thematic speech and i thought that was important to bring us all together and
unify us as a country. >> yeah. let's go back to wolf. wolf? >> we're about to see a few ceremonies unfold. and, john, i want to talk a little about what we're about to see. the president, president biden will be signing three documents while in the president's, what's called the president's room in the capitol on inauguration day, proclamation, nominations to cabinet positions, nominations to subcabinet positions as well. you're looking here at live pictures coming from arlington national cemetery. he and the former presidents who were there will be going over there to visit the tomb of the unknowns. this is an important moment as well. so there will be several ceremonies now unfolding that have significant substantive meaning. >> and those ceremonies, i think even especially so after this at the capitol, a ceremony where the new president stressed unity, the challenge ahead. former presidents george w. bush along with clinton and obama will travel with him to
arlington national cemetery for the wreath laying. again, a very important symbol to the country and the world that we respect each other, we can get along, we can set aside differences for the bigger things that matter to all of us. that's the message the new president is trying to show today. and in between you mentioned the ceremony we are about to see, signing the cabinet and subcabinet, proclamations. he carries the weight of the united states. he has an ambitious agenda in the middle of a pandemic. he has to get his team in place for official business. it's about the unity, the diversity on the platform you see there now, from the performers to the speakers to the swearing in of vice president harris, to the young poet, the diversity in the pictures, the diversity in the performance, a message of change there. and then in signing these documents and sending up, a, a new team that has a different -- than the trump team. they never respected the
government, never filled a lot of lower-level jobs and he needed that government in the pandemic. one of the reasons it was so miserably mismanaged because he didn't have a team in place and he rejected science and logic. the official part of this is incredibly important. by the end of the day the united states will be back in the paris climate accord, the paperwork will be signed. the muz almost travel ban will be abandoned by president biden. you'll see the policy agenda. the most important point is the images, the flags, our monuments, this city, and again, it's a giant challenge to carry it through. and i think joe biden was very candid and very plain spoken language about how tough it will be to govern in this world where leaders, including the former president lie and try to create their own facts. that is a giant challenge for this new president going forward. but i think just the plain spoken language in which he candidly addressed it, essentially a come-on to the american people. shake out of this funk. let's try to work together on the big things. the pandemic does not know politics.
a struggling economy does not discriminate based on politics. that is his challenge and his opportunity in these early days. >> let's not forget in addition to being the president of the united states, now president biden, he's going to be signing these important documents at the capitol. but he's also the commander in chief, commander in chief of the u.s. military. on the east front of the u.s. capitol, that's coming up fairly soon, president biden will review the readiness of military troops. this is called a military pass in review. it will be hosted by the commander of the joint task force national region. it will underscore, john, he is, yes, president, but he's also commander in chief. and there is a whole new world out there for military readiness, threats to the united states, national security and foreign policy as you and i well know, we covered now president biden for many years when he was a senator and vice president. national security foreign policy is a huge, huge matter for him. >> absolutely, which is another reason he wants to get the team in place and one of the reasons he offered a very comforting
message. if you're a member of the nato alliance, president trump thumbed you in the eye for four years, joe biden said america will be re-engaged in the world. he talked about our power, but more importantly the power of our example and leading through example. very different. again, change is the word you're going to hear repeatedly for me because joe biden is going to reset every compass point of u.s. policy and the personal character of the man who lives in the white house. you mentioned that the commander in chief role. we were on the pictures of lady gaga singing the national anthem. what was remarkable to me, number one, this was a safe ceremony. we have this unprecedented security here. things went off safely and quietly and calmly. number two, you have this unprecedented number of national guard troops here in the nation's capitol. they were saluting during the national anthem as, of course, is tradition and as is proper as lady gaga sang the national an anthem. it was quite a striking scene to watch from the balcony here and men and women deployed from all across the country standing
straight up in salute as the national anthem sung by lady gaga, i'm going to use the word cool. it was cool. >> it was very moving. she did an amazing job, i must say. i'm a huge lady gaga fan over the years indeed. there's something else that's going to happen this afternoon that we're not paying that much attention to. but which is so significant. the democrats will become the majority in the united states senate. three senators elect jon ossoff, raphael warnock of georgia, jose padilla of california. the vice president will swear them in. as a result mitch mcconnell will now become the minority leader and chuck schumer, john, becomes the majority leader. how important is that? >> critical. again back to the word change. this is a dramatic day of change for the united states government and the fact it will be the narrowest of majorities, 50/50 with vice president harris breaking the tie. but joe biden has no cabinet members confirmed on this day. one of the reasons for that is up until that ceremony happens in a few short minutes, republicans controlled the
chamber and they dragged their feet. they would not give hearings to the biden nominees. they said it was because of the coronavirus. then they did have some legitimate concerns after the insurrection. but it is not normal that we don't have at least a defense secretary, the department of homeland security since 9/11, the secretary of state, normally no matter whether it's democrat or republican, the senate tries to get those teed up so they can be confirmed on this first day. but by the end of this day, another dramatic change. again, the narrowest of majorities which will still make it hard for joe biden to get big policy initiatives through, but you do control the senate floor, you control the committees, therefore the biden team can now move much more quickly through the united states senate. >> and now for the first time in a while, the democrats will not only be in the white house, control the white house, but the house of representatives narrowly and the senate very, very narrowly, but the democrats are the majority. >> right. just as when president trump came to town, he had a republican senate and republican house. joe biden, the democrats now have complete control of washington. i will say the democratic majority in the house is very
narrow. the democratic majority in the senate is narrowest possible, 50/50 with the vice president. this will be one of the creative political tensions of the new administration. republicans are saying your majorities are very close. this was a close election climate. republicans picked up seats in the house. you should go slow, mr. president. you should reach out to us, mr. president. that's what the republicans will say. the progressives, especially in the democrat tribe will say go bold. we have the power, let's use it on climate change, use it on health kaye pour s.e.a.l. i let's use it on economic policies. this will be one of the constant tensions of the biden administration. again, one of the leadership challenge he faces. at the moment democrats are united. they are joyous, overjoyed on this day. when it comes to policy issues there will be tension. i'll say this, wolf. i've been looking at my emails during the segment. emails from republicans and democrats about policy questions. god forbid we actually have policy debates in washington. we didn't have many of those in the trump administration. the repaeal and replace the
obamacare, tax cuts. it was what trump wanted, not policy. >> that's lady gaga, she performed the national anthem. she sang the national anthem and did an amazing job as she always does. go ahead, finish your thought. >> this town, this government is going to debate big substantial policies, first a new biden stimulus plan. more money for americans struggling, more money for small businesses, realignment of the public health infrastructure to try to surge vaccines. then climate change where, for four years the president of the united states with the help of republicans, denied climate change. it's denying science, denying fact. we can debate what we will do about it. there are so many things we can tick with joe biden. create a path to citizenship in eight years for the undocumented here in the united states. a policy debate. again, as someone who is a creature of the senate who
believes the congress should debate the big issues facing the country, it will be fascinating to watch a president with very, very narrow majorities in the congress decide, let's talk about big issues. let's vote. let's bring things to the floor. let's try to settle policy. let's vote it out. >> hovering overall of this right now, there's still no doubt, jake, the number one issue facing this country, i think it's fair to say, is the coronavirus pandemic. 400,000 americans have died over the past year and many, many more thousands are dying almost every single day. >> that's right. and the incoming white house press secretary told us this morning that without question, fighting the coronavirus pandemic, fixing the failed rollout of the vaccine, that's the top priority for president biden and vice president harris, without question. in addition, of course, to the economic catastrophe that the virus has wreaked and the educational problems, the challenges with so many kids not in in-person school.
and those are going to be the priorities. he has already laid out a $1.9 trillion plan that would be for economic relief. that would be for the battling of the virus. and obviously this is going to be a challenge -- the number one challenge for his presidency, although they have already said it's going to take months before anyone, any of the american people see any sort of results of their efforts, which really can only begin today because, remember, the trump administration, because president trump refused to accept the results of the election and, in fact, was fighting it figuratively and then through his supporters, his crazed supporters two weeks ago quite literally, refused to even allow democracy to proceed. and that's going to be a real challenge. we'll see, dana, as a scholar of the congress, you have a real
expertise as to what president biden will be able to accomplish and what he might have a more difficult time accomplishing. democrats control the house and the senate, but by the narrowest of margins. can he get a $2 trillion package through congress? >> no, but the biden now administration, his top advisers, they know that. but they also know negotiations 101, which is why you start with the biggest -- >> we just saw the president and vice president walking through the congress there. they are on their way to the president's room of the capitol where he will sign some documents and we'll bring that to you live when it happens. please proceed, dana. i'm sorry. >> no, that's okay. we're looking -- now it's gone, but those halls were the very ones we were looking at two weeks ago with somebody just -- right there, with the confederate flag. but in any event, they know, back to the question about negotiations, they know full well they won't get that, but you start big and you know that
you have to work your way down. what we need to always remember about joe biden is that he's walked those halls. he's done the negotiating. i mean, as you know from covering congress, there are members of congress who like to go to the cameras. they don't understand or they don't really care that much about the art of legislating. joe biden actually liked to do both. he understands the art of legislating and understands what is necessary to get something actually done. you know, i've been listening to the audio of the promised land, president obama's memoirs and i'm at the part right now where he is talking about how he and joe biden when he was vice president started just like this, on day one. they had to hit the ground running because of the financial crisis. and now joe biden, president biden, is in a situation where he's got a different financial
crisis, an economic crisis and a health crisis. so it's almost double the challenge that president obama had just eight years ago. >> and it's for all of those reasons that you're going to see joe biden and his administration just start with executive orders. they're not even going to start with trying to get legislation through. and a lot of them are going to be about directing relief to people who, like, for example, dreamers who have lived under a cloud of uncertainty under the trump administration, executive orders rescinding president trump's so-called muslim ban that was signed in early days of the trump administration. there are going to be things related to covid that are about providing direction to states and localities, ramping up testing. so there's going to be a big effort beginning today, really, to rollout as much as possible on the federal side. and the truth is when it comes
to the coronavirus, the big failure of the previous administration was their indifference to the role of the federal government in helping to manage this crisis. >> yes, states were on their own basically. >> exactly. states were on their own. and it's not to say that the federal government has control over everything in this process. but the absence of the federal government was felt at the state level from beginning to end from, you know, the beginnings of this crisis to the last days of the trump administration. and you'll see the biden administration trying to roll that back. but as you said, jake, it's going to take awhile. you're not going to be able to overnight flip a switch and then suddenly you have adequate testing. you have adequate vaccination. it's an enormous, an enormous challenge, and it's a mess really that was made that needs to be cleaned up and it's going to take a long time to do that. >> let's bring in evan osnos
>> thanks, guys. >> thank you. >> president biden will sign some more documents having to do with executive actions later, but those -- that movement what we saw right there was him signing some pretty pro forma documents, important ones, inauguration day proclamation, nominations to both cabinet and subcabinet positions. let me bring back evan osnos, new yorker and biographer. evan, one of the things biden prided himself on, was attacked for in the democratic primaries, because of his willingness to work with then segregationists in the '70s, is his willingness to work with anyone, his willingness to work with anybody. he is now going to have to confront some pretty cynical operators in the senate. we already see josh hawley, he
thought there was some ridiculous way this was going to be overturned, brought the oxygen to set the stage for the insurrection. josh hawley is stopping, the senatorial prerogative of president biden's nominee to be the secretary of homeland security. aleja alejandro mallorcas. he has concerns about biden's immigration policy. i'm sure there are others who see it as josh hawley doing it as a stunt rather than the welfare of the nation. biden is clear eyed. i know he's not naive. but is he prepared for operators like that to be doing whatever they can to hurt him even if that also means hurting the united states?
>> you know, you said at one point during the campaign, jake, he said he thought some republicans after trump is gone might have an epiphany, as he put it. he caught flack for that. an epiphany? he said, yes, here is what i mean. i don't think they're going to wake up and suddenly start cooperating with me. if you remove the element of donald trump, the malignant influence of donald trump, everything begins to shift a little bit. and individual members of congress will start to recalculate their interests. and it's in that place, in that moment, that's where joe biden gets to work. you know, what you heard, that speech today which had a big influence from his adviser mike donolan, he is one of his close advisers on strategy dealing with congress. and mike donolan said to me over the summer and joe biden thinks that a lot of the way we negotiate with congress is wrong. we go into the room and we immediately say that we're so
divided on these two issues, we're not going to talk about the other eight. instead what we should do is go in and talk about some of these other things we might be able to make some headway on, recognizing we're not going to be able to do everything. and that right there is the heart of the idea that politics need not be a raging fire. and, look, he cannot control what josh hawley does, but he sure can seek out and find those other people in the mix who might be willing to work with him. >> we are looking at a view right now of the capitol rotunda where president biden and vice president harris will proceed to gift stations where they will receive gifts. this is a ceremonial standard. this happens every four years. there will be some remarks by various people, but not biden or harris. evan, as you noted, he said that there would be an epiphany,
although that was more along the lines of the sentence structure would change, that there would be people who would not any longer feel the need to respond or ingratiate themselves with president trump because he's no longer in power and no longer on twitter. but the incentive structure that rewards bad behavior, president biden acknowledged this in his inaugural address when he said, quote, recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. there is truth and there are lies. lies told for power and for profit, he's obviously referring there to the lies about the election, lies that were told by trump to hold onto power, and by his supporters in congress, but also in maga media on certain other cable channels. that incentive structure has not gone away, evan. >> yeah.
and you know, that is, of course, going to be the fact of our lives. we're at the beginning of this process. we are not by any means through the woods. you know, we are in the midst of the dark winter, as he put it, and that applies not only to covid, it applies to the culture of the war on truth which we are contending with right now. and it is incumbent on all of us, those of us who watch politics, pay attention to it, to not forget who it is who is pu perpetrating the big lie here and to continue to name those names. i think what you're seeing, you heard this morning there was a letter from some republican members of congress, particularly some of the newer members, who are just beginning to open the door a bit to the idea that they could find some areas for some cooperation. this is not wholesale reunion, but areas for cooperation. and what the biden strategy is is force them to say no to things that americans desperately want, like vaccine rollout. like a serious stimulus plan to help people in trouble.
force them to put their names to that, and then you begin to press them on their political calculations in a visible way. and that's at the basis of this approach to negotiation. >> but, dana, as we prepare for more activities by president biden and vice president harris, let's continue this conversation about people who shared in the big lie, the big lie that resulted in not only a bunch of adherence to various conspiracy theories under the delusion that donald trump was going to stay president today, that he was going to declare martial law and this was some big charade, which obviously did not happen. and not only the big liars on maga media who did so for viewers, but also the people who are in congress. and you just heard evan talk about the fact that a letter went out. congressman mayer who is an
honorable republican from michigan who voted to impeach president trump, he's a freshman, he did so at great professional risk. he wrote a letter. but others on the letter, other republicans are among the people who pushed the big lie. congressman moore, for example. >> yes. >> congressman -- the one from -- hawthorne and others. and so if all these individuals who lied and who voted to undermine democracy are just able to move on as if it never happened, even though there are seven dead bodies as a result of the insurrection two weeks ago, does not the incentive for it to happen again, except successfully, persist? >> it's a good question. it's an important question. they are going to try to move on. and we just heard from the president's inaugural address, he wants to move forward, but
not necessarily move on. and what i mean by that is that, you know, that's our job to continue to ask these people the 11 -- the 17, i should say, freshmen, not all of them, some of them were part of the big lie. it's our job to keep asking that question. but it's also our job to heed the call of a new president and perhaps members of congress who want to work with him across the aisle and to hold them accountable on the priorities that they're working on, but also the ways in which they want to get this country out of the very, very dire straits that it is in economically in terms of our health, the fact that we're watching a inauguration that is supposed to be socially distanced, but certainly a lot fewer people there. no parade. no people in the streets. >> they were tested for covid, by the way. we should note that. >> everybody wearing masks. my point is it looks different
because of the situation that we're in, and that is the challenge for joe biden. and it's a huge, huge challenge. and when it actually gets to the building behind you -- before you, jake, before that he will start to get to work using his pen and executive orders, not just reversing a lot of what president trump did, but, again, looking forward on these huge twin challenges. >> thinking about what evan osnos was just saying joe biden told him about feeling that the incentive structure is going to change for republicans in a new era, i think it is an open question really. i think the next few weeks will tell us a lot about whether that is the case. we've already seen certain members of the republican party, like the house minority leader, kevin mccarthy, who we'll see in just a few minutes participating in this gift-giving ceremony that the president and vice president will participate in.
kevin mccarthy was part of the big lie. >> yep. >> and he was an enthusiastic promoter of the big lie, in fact, and one of the original liars, frankly, in this whole thing. but a week ago as the house deliberated impeachment proceedings, he did put the blame on president trump for what happened at the capitol and seemed to signal that he was willing to acknowledge some blame. and there he is -- >> there he is in the center of your screen holding a folder of some sort. >> yeah, i think this is going to be one of the items that we'll see him -- >> he wasn't just talking about moving on, though, house leader minority mccarthy. he was acting, he said, it's not the american way -- there's mitch mcconnell behind him. it's not the american way to act as though joe biden is not a legitimate president. kevin mccarthy had been leading the charge with the idea, the false idea that biden was not the legitimate president. this is one of the things that's so distressing.
it's not just the small pods of conspiracy theorists adherence like q anon. it is literally tens of millions of trump supporters who believe the lie. >> which is why i think we still don't know where -- how this is going to go, how this is going to play out in the biden era. will he have a reasonable opposition party that is motivated by policy and by ideology -- >> speaker pelosi. >> -- dealing with -- or will he be dealing with -- and mitch mcconnell walking in there. will he be dealing with what we as a country have been dealing with the last four years, the combination of lies and conspiracy theories and culture wars. and i think that will make a big difference in determining whether joe biden can actually get stuff done around here in washington. >> if you look at -- there's president biden walking through
congress, vice president harris before him in the purple outfit. >> now the president of the senate. >> that's right. vice president harris a week ago, just a regular old senator. now she's president of the senate. >> and the tie-breaking. >> presides in a 50/50 tie, there could be a lot given it's a 50/50 senate. that is the reason minority leader mcconnell and majority leader schumer are in a sharing negotiation because it is 50/50. last time that happened, i think they had even numbers of members on committees, but the democrat in that point, in that case, in the 50/50 senate was the chair -- >> chairman. >> yeah. look, the rules are hundreds of years old literally. but in any case, there's president biden again with the first lady, jill biden. you talk about whether or not
republicans are going to resort to culture wars. abby, it was just a couple weeks ago -- let's listen in. >> the vice president and the second gentleman. normally at this time we have a lunch and probably no personal wives attended more of those lunches than president biden has. it is an important moment where it's bipartisan. it's the time to bond between the executive and the legislative branch of the government. probably don't need as much bonding because we already have that natural bonding with you and the traditions here. by those traditions, usually there is a painting at the front of that event that the chairman picks. this time, not knowing we're going to have an event until what we're going to do about an event until late, i asked dr. biden to help pick the painting, and this is the one that she recommended. the painting is landscaped with rainbow, rainbow always a good
sign. it's loaned to us today from the smithsonian american art museum. the artist, robert sheldon duncanson, he was the best-known african-american painter in the years surrounding the civil war. he was based in cincinnati, encouraged by abolitionists to, among other things, sponsored a trip for him to do some study in europe. this is a painting that he painted in 1859. and i think maybe the more -- it's sort of the classic america as a pair radise painting a lot painters were doing then. for him, a black artist painting this painting that's so much like an american yutopia on the verge of a war we would fight over slavery, makes it even more interesting in that while he faced lots of challenges,
obviously was optimistic even in 1859 about america, and so, dr. biden, thanks for helping select this painting. glad to have all four of you here as we move on to my good friend senator klobuchar. >> i liked the rainbow. >> the rainbow is always a good sign. let's hope so. [ applause ] >> door number two. mr. president, first lady, madam vice president and our very first second gentleman, on behalf of the american people, it is our honor to present these custom-made crystal vases commemorating your historic inauguration. lennox, which you know is a great company, american company,
has hand crafted these gifts for the past nine presidential inaugurations. it is a good thing i don't have to hand them to you personally. they each weigh with the base 32 pounds. but combined, 64. but jill, i know, is very strong and could take them both. >> [ inaudible ]. >> exactly. but the lennox company is actually based in bristol, pennsylvania, which you know, mr. president, is a mere 132 miles from scranton. since we know today all roads lead to scranton. the team at lennox has worked for months to capture the spirit of this inauguration and your incoming administration. mr. president, your vase features the white house, and vice president harris' features the u.s. capitol. the gifts represent the hope and the faith the american people have placed in you to move our country forward. thank you. >> thank you very much. >> thank you.
[ applause ] >> well, mr. president, madam vice president. while the pandemic has sadly limited our usual hospitality as others have mentioned, i'm very glad we still carry on some of our favorite inaugural traditions. it's my honor and privilege to help prevent these flags of our nation that were flown over today's event here at the capitol. now, i have to make one point of personal privilege on behalf of the senate. with all due respect to our distinguished speaker and our colleagues from the house, i
have to note, not only did we just swear in a son and daughter of the senate to these high offices, but indeed both these former senators skipped the house altogether. [ laughter ] the star-spangled banner is our greatest symbol of our endurance of the american idea. it flies over this building on triumphant days and on tragic ones. over all factions and all parties. and today this flag flew over our former colleague's inauguration as the very first female vice president of the united states. so, to our very distinguished former colleague, madam vice president, please accept this flag with the highest compliments and congratulations of the united states senate. [ applause ]
>> the distinguished leader of the senate pointed out that he has hosted this lunch for members of the senate who had become president and vice president. but i have the privilege of giving the flag to the president of the united states, the flag that was flown when you were sworn in, mr. president. this flag, may it reflect all that is said about your inauguration, america united. may it be a symbol of the hope, the healing and the -- just all of the enthusiasm you have for our country. and as we heard the beautiful national anthem, when we're at the stadium and they say, is our
flag still there, then you say, play ball, right there. play ball. so we're going to get ready to play ball. we're ready to go with the inspiration of our flag flying. but again, on behalf of the house of representatives, it is my privilege to extend to you the flag that was flown the moment, the early moment that you were sworn in as president of the united states. thank you, mr. president. thank you, dr. biden. thank you. if we had the lunch, we would have had california wine. is that not right, madam vice president? mr. emhoff? congratulations. with liberty and justice for all. thank you. [ applause ]
>> long time no see. >> congratulations, mr. president. >> thank you. >> that was quick. >> modern technology, right? >> it's a good picture, too. >> president biden, vice president harris, dr. biden and mr. emhoff, on behalf of the republicans in congress, congratulations. very proud of you both. when president washington was sworn in as president of the united states, only a handful of people saw the ceremony or heard the famous first inaugural address. today the inauguration is seen around the nation and, indeed, around the world.
yet the task facing the nation is no less momentous than it was in washington's time. i listened to your speech today. you talked about the tension and division. our task as leaders is to bind this nation's wounds and dedicate ourselves to the values of all americans shared together. with modern technology just a few minutes ago, it captured in these pictures, history in the making for all the world to see. this picture should serve as a reminder of that task that we have before us. as a very proud son of california, it is my honor to present to a very proud daughter of california as well. today vice president harris made history and all of america should celebrate that. but we should also remember that this is not the end, but just the beginning. as leaders, we are judged not by our words, but by our actions.
so let's go forth from here together, accomplish great things for the american people. and every time you look at this photo, remember the beginning of the job we have to do. congratulations. [ applause ] >> madam vice president, mr. emhoff, dr. biden, mr. president -- no, joe, you're mr. president. and we are so proud of that. dr. biden, he makes you call him mr. president? [ laughter ] marriage is about to get rocky, i can tell. on behalf of the joint congressional committee on the inaugural ceremonies, i, too, am proud, more than that, i'm ecstatic to present the two of you this picture, a testament to
technology. a testament to history. mr. president, in your speech you talked about faith. you talked about tribulations, but you talked about victory. the johnson brothers wrote a great hymn. you know it well, mr. president. today we have a new day, and that hymn came out of faith and out of deep trouble into hope, and they said, facing the rising sun of our new day begun, let us march on till victory's won. that's what your speech was about. and that's why we are so proud and ready to march with you, president biden. god bless. [ applause ]
>> and they're both different. with the whole family. >> put your head in there. [ laughter ] >> oh, god. . >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> you bet. thank you. >> thank you, everyone. [ applause ] >> traditional presentation of gifts. a somewhat -- well a traditional ceremony. awkward ceremony on this day. extraordinary here representative kevin mccarthy saying to president biden, very proud of you both. also saying, all america should celebrate this day. david axelrod, this is a man not
just one of the leaders in the house, certainly, of the big lie the president told, he wasn't just leader. like a carnival barker of it on fox news and elsewhere, riling up americans to take part in this insurgency. >> he just said in those remarks, he said, we should be judged not by our words but by our actions. he's kind of in a hole here when it comes to intentions. his actions didn't exactly meet with that, but i think biden's who thrust is, okay. today's a new day. let's see where we go from here. all this discussion we've been having about the politics that he faces, clearly we are, we have divisions in our country, in the congress there are divisions. but the republican party has its own divisions, and i think biden's going to try to take advantage of that. you know, mitch mcconnell, his goal is to elect a republican majority. he's looking at states like pennsylvania and wisconsin where they're going to have critical races in a few -- in 2022.
i'm not sure going down the obstruction road is going to be helpful in those races. mccarthy if they're going to gain control of the house, they've got to get a total back in the suburban areas, both senate and republicans, obstruction and following the route they've been on lately is not a way to do that. plus, donors that they count on have fled republicans because of this obstructionism. so there are pressures on them to figure out how to navigate all of this and it's going to be hard, because there is a hard-core base with both their caucuses. more in the house than in the senate. and you know, that's what led mckar mccarthy to do what he did. it will be challenging but not a slam dunk somehow all is doomed and talk of moving together is lost. >> david, you were there when president obama was sworn in.
what happens on this day? i mean, in terms of actually what's get done? i know the president will sign executive orders later on. can you talk about the transition of, is biden of staff already inside the white house now? >> you know, some of them may be over there already. the bulk of us went over but mostly the next day we were in there, but, look. he is taking office in the midst of a crisis. we have been talking about the virus. jen psaki was on earlier with jack and said it's going to take several months before we see progress. that was interesting. you realize as a staffer, the moment you leave these ceremonies, the responsibility is yours. everything that goes wrong is going wrong on your watch. >> by the way, jen psaki, the spokesperson, doing the first
briefing at 3:00 today. >> yeah. she'll be at the white house. i think setting parameters, understanding that they've got a lot of difficult challenges ahead, and they need to get a running start right now. you definitely feel that as an aide, like, holy smokes. now it's ours. now it's -- on our watch. anything that happens is our responsibility. it's sobering. >> we've been talking about leader mccarthy, and his hypocrisy and what just occurred. another person that we saw speak today was mitch mcconnell. and mitch mcconnell was somebody who came out and said that the president provoked what occurred on january 6th, because people were told a bunch of lies. and i think we cannot underestimate the relationship between mcconnell and biden. they disagree, but they know each other. and the important thing about biden, it's not that he's some soft guy, as donald trump wanted
to portray him, but he gets the politics, but one thing he does is, when you get in a room with him, he doesn't question your motives. he understands the politics. he knows politically why you were there. he understands before he goes in, okay. you're going to disagree on this, but let's figure out something else. he and mcconnell have been in rooms together before, on budget issues, on a whole host of things. on the recovery act, as david knows very well. biden led the obama administration, and their dealings with congress on the recovery act. so it's not like biden comes in as some naive guy saying, okay, mccarthy. i can deal with you. we'll start from zero. he knows where he's coming from. >> talking about putting yourself in someone else's shoes is really important in politics. >> he knows this. >> and he understands politicians. he is one proudly and understands how to have that
conversation. >> bring in manu raju. manu, president biden will be heading to arlington soon. can you set the scene for us? >> reporter: yeah. we're outside the east front of the capitol right now where we expect joe biden to walk down the center steps of the capitol. be greeted by family, friends and supporters gathering here. just on the plaza. it's a pretty empty plaza, cleared out, of course, most crowds and people can't gather here and security is incredibly tight, but the congressional leadership is on the top of the capitol steps. leaders on both sides of the aisle waiting for joe biden to come out any moment he and kamala harris will walk down here enter their motorcade. leadership will wave good-bye to him as he travels on and carries on with the rest of his days, events here. so bipartisan moment. we've seen throughout the course of the day in the capitol, going to wrap up this portion of festivities as he carries on the rest of his day, anderson.
>> and revuft tiew of the troop? >> reporter: one of the next things on biden's agenda. going ahead to arlingington cemetery and eventually to the other side of the white house and begins his first day in office here. but the moment the capitol is essentially here waiting. there are members of the military. up and down the steps of the, the center steps of the capitol. and any moment we expect the new president to walk down here and lead and carry on with his day. >> yeah. the president will observe the passing review event. as we wait to see the president, what did you make of mccarthy's remarks? >> i'm just happy. i'm sorry. i'm still -- just -- i -- i still look at this and i see the triumph of american democracy. you have two symbols in that
building. you have some nut walking through there with the confederate flag and you have kamala harris. whose century is it? is it the folks trying to go back to something they lost? or is there something new happening? something new is happening. i agree that there's cracks, divisions all that sort of stuff, but you just saw the biggest reset button hit that you're ever going to see. this has been four years of just horror and then you had just a big download of beauty. and that is going to matter. those guys, they may not admit what they said but they know they're talking to a different country now. the, all of the people who thought they could get away with this nonsense before, they now feel constrained by what you just saw. this country stuck together from silicon valley to black voters in the south saying we want something ditch, and, look. some of the stuff is boring. boring is the new thrilling. to me. i'm glad it's boring. i'm happy.
osnos, can you talk a little about president biden's relationship with the military both in the past also obviously through family connections with beau biden? >> a big part of are the family story. his son, beau, of course, was in the army. served in iraq. interestingly enough, it was general lloyd austin who was commander in iraq at the time. it's where, who is now, of course, nominated to be secretary of defense, where they became friends. began going to mass together in baghdad. got to know each other a bit there and jill biden co-founded an organization to help co-sponsor overseas and something that ran through the family story. worth mentioning, also, joe biden rhys career running for senate against the vietnam war. later voted on the war in iraq and later regretted that. he is deeply aware of military issues. chairman of the foreign relations committee in the senate many years and had a sometimes testy bus
fundamentally long-running relationship with the pentagon. it's a place he knows well. >> i was in the room when he, for nine very faith ful meeting when president obama was trying to decide his policy in afghanistan and biden tested assumptions of the military, and that was, they were testy at times and focused with smug dealing with the military and the pentagon for three decades, as a senator from the first that he got there. so you're quite right about that. >> wolf? >> you know, it's interesting. look at what's happening now. they're leaving in this motorcade. they'll be driving over to arlington cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony over at the tomb of the unknown soldier and it will be a beautiful ceremony and especially powerful because the new president and new vice president will be joined by former presidents obama, bush 43 and clinton. after that, calling a virtual
parade. parade across america. bands performing from all 50 states, 6 territories. 2345 that will be exciting as well. president biden will then go into the white house, signing a whole bunch of important policies, reverses policies of the's former president trump and a sump tantive issue. and president biden is the 46th president. united states, it's significant. they got the license plate already on. >> moving quickly about their business. about to see something very powerful at arlington martial cemetery one of most sacred places in the capital and in this country. an act of continuity, act of respect, going out of their way to show tradition, continuity of the american democracy. all of the pictures we've seen
today including the troop review we just watched. the old adage, a picture is worth 1,000 words. today's pictures are worth 81 million votes. especially because of the events of two weeks ago in that it capitol building. joe biden is president of the united states because of the way we settle our grievances or differences or disputes in the united states of america. it's in elections. at the ballot box. 81 million votes made him president of the united states. 81 million votes made kamala harris historic as our vice president today, and when you watch today compared to the story we were covering two weeks ago on this day, where people with grievances thought the way to settle them, to attack their government. to attack their vice president, their vice president-elect to attack that sacred building the capitol dome is not how we do it. and today's message from the new president, from all of the performers and what we're going to see at arlington national cemetery again, just a shrine of hero inch.
a testament to heroism of generations of americans is a reminder there's a way to do this. that is why we are here. and so i think the images are powerful today. you're right. the words of the new president, later on the policy actions of the new president all consequential, all things keeping tabs of beginning this new leadership test to the new administration, but the power of today is the power of those 81 million votes and power of democracy and the strength of the system to rapepel the attac >> good point. three wednesdays, two wednesdays ago, january 6th, there was the storming of the u.s. capitol by pro-trump insurgents who went up there and we saw a lot of those buildings, a lot of those rooms, you know, that were literally destroyed the, just two weeks ago. they've been rebuilt, redone. windows were smashed as we all know and then last wednesday a week later, there was the
impeachment, second -- second impeachment for the president. president trump. the only president in american history to be impeached twice and now on this third wednesday we see the inauguration of a new president. president biden, vice president kamala harris. there's a lot more ahead that we're following including president biden's historic visit to arlington national cemetery. one of his first acts at commander-in-chief. plus the parade across america more than a march down pennsylvania avenue. a made-for-tv event featuring performance, american heroes from all across the united states. stay with us. lots more of our special coverage, coming up. >> announcer: the inauguration of joe biden is brought to you by -- be, there's a bridge. between endangered and protected, there's a bridge.
the vice president will also be in attendance as will former president barack obama, george w. bush and bill clinton. this ceremony, we will have extensive, extensive complete live coverage of this very, very moving sayre more than. i want to go to our brand new chief white house correspondent, kaitlan collins joining us now. congratulations, kaitlan. doing an amazing job for all of our viewers here in the united states and around the world. very proud of you. good work. is this your first live shot as our new chief white house correspondent? >> reporter: yeah, wolf, it is. rime honored to follow in your footsteps and happy to be here and i think we'll have four great years of coverage and thank you for that, for recognizing that. >> tell us what, what's going on right now, what we're bracing for. >> reporter: you can already see changes under way here at the white house from this transition of power that only happened hours ago. we're told moments after biden was sworn in his staff started showing up here.
they are in the west wing unpacking their offices. wolf, this morning came over to get tested for coronavirus, of course, before proceedings of the day, and we saw there were several picture frames in the hallways removed. now up and photos of the new president, the new vice president as well, and we are told that staffers are starting to unpack their offices. that involves meeting with i.t. getting federal issued devices as well and getting their work under way. all coming before the president will be here in a matter of hours. he's got a ton of executive orders. over a dozen, actually, he's going to sign and a lot aimed at undoing what donald trump and his administration spent the last four years s doing. the work appears to be under way here, wolf. >> later, a press briefing with the white house press secretary. extraordinary event given in the final weeks, maybe eve been
months of the trump administration, i don't think we saw a press secretary in that briefing room. >> reporter: no, wolf. rarely did. we actually went a year without a press briefing at times. we're told jen pspsaki, press secretary, announcing daily briefings starting day one. nothing you saw in the trump administration. remember, sean spicer gave that briefing a day after the president arrived here. and focusing on what exactly the new president wants to do in his first ten days in office. that's the period you're seeing a lot of executive orders, a lot of executive actions coming from the west wing and, of course, also talking about the legislation that he wants to see happen on capitol hill. so we are expecting it to be busy. that's because i think the biden team realizes they have inherited a lot of challenges that are going to be facing them, especially in this first year in office, wolf. >> all right. we'll stand by for that. jen psaki new white house press
secretary brief aring reporters later, around 7:00 p.m. eastern. we'll be anxious to hear what she has to say about the new president and new vice president are actually doing. the president signing all of these exec tib ord herbs today. reversals of several policieses put forward by the former president trump. our senior white house correspondent phil mattingly joins us now. congratulations to you as well. i take it this is your first live shot as our senior white house correspondent? >> reporter: right, wolf. just about 12 hours ago in the capitol. moving back to the white house. look, i think -- this moment underscores how quickly the biden administration kicks into gear. kaitlan laid out some details, you want to talk about what the biden team and president will do in a couple of hours when he sits down and starts signing executive accesses, mem morandas well. halting border wall construction, talking ditch buckets of issues i think you'll see the administration push
forward on over the course of the next couple of days and weeks. not just on the executive actions front but on the legislative front as well and why it's important to pay attention what's going to happen at 5:15 in the oval office when the president sits down to actually take these actions. you're going to see actions on the economy. whether continuing eviction moratoriums, rental evictions, masking inside federal buildings which the federal government has ability to institute on its own. things in that wrarea as well. racial equity the administration wants to talk about but there are limits to what the administration can do. while you'll see over the course of the next couple of days the administration try best they can with executive action through their federal authority to move forward on these buckets trying to address the multiple crises the president is facing coming into office, also you need to pay attention to the legislative work. kaitlan talked $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal already on the
table. a significant overhaul of the immigration system putting on the table as well. keep a close eye on those. if you talk to biden advisers they acknowledge there are things from day one, reversing president trump's efforts to addressing issues they think they can control off the bat and acknowledge there is significant work to be done and a lot of the work only can be done legislatively, wolf. >> phil mattingly, new senior white house correspondent. congratulations to you. putting together a truly excellent white house correspondent team. the motorcade has now crossed the memorial bridge heading towards right now arlington national cemetery. john, so significant. the first thing he's doing after this ceremony, the swearing-in ceremony, first thing the president wanted to do, go to arlington cemetery and
tomb of the unknown soldier. >> you see them crossing from the nation's capitol over to arlington, virginia, a sacred place. an amazing testamentance tribute, shrine to american heroes. so joe biden, a., trying to show that message of unity with president bush, president clinton and president obama. flee former presidents, three former commander-in-chiefs appearing with him taking part in the very important message he's trying to project today, the new president. let's try to bring the country together in the middle of this pandemic. in a time of a great political divide. let's at least try. then, of course, you mentioned. this morning those troops woke um with donald trump as commander-in-chief. joe biden is commander in chief now. he lost his son obviously after, beau biden dieing's brain cancer serving in the delaware national guard. this a very important out of the box early hours signal of respect to the troops, respect
to tradition and respect to heroes from the new president. >> perspective from doug brinkley, presidential his historian. give a sense how significant, a., this day is and what the new president and new vice president are doing right now? >> well, it's the exact right thing to do. i mean, in the inaugural address joe biden talk and arlington being a sacred ground and indeed it is. he inferred we're never going to give up that sacred ground, always going to remember our war heroes. to go witthere with all the for presidents by hi side is meaning. it's jimmy carter not there, but i thought very important at the beginning of the inaugural to invoke jimmy carter, very ill but still wily and here he is with bill clinton, barack obama
and george bush, all of these presidents were no military people. did not serve in the military. you know? different generation, you couldn't have even gotten into american politics without having been in the u.s. military. >> there's the too many of the unknown, where the -- the event, wreath doctor laying ceremony will take place. we'll have the national enthem, touching of the wreath, four ruffled taps -- muffled taps they call them and it's a very, very important event. we know how emotional the new president gets at these kinds of events. we saw yesterday tears coming down his cheek as he was speaking about his late son and as he was saying good-bye to the state of delaware getting ready to come here to washington, but let's listen in.
[ silence ] we're awaiting president biden, vice president kamala harris and the entire entourage, entire motorcade to arrive at arlington national cemetery in virginia across the potomac river. at the tomb of the unknown. brianna keilar is with us. you've done a lot of work and reporting on the role of the military and president biden, and it is so, so special. tell us a little about this. >> reporter: it is so special,
and i think we see the military factoring in today in such a large way as it always does in the inauguration of a president, and this is part of, this is a hallmark, of the american system. the civilian control of the military, a military that does not belong to one political party, and this is something that we have seen challenged here in the united states here in recent years. so this is part of what president biden is going to be tasked with. trying to gain the trust of the broad american public, which increasingly had sort of seen it co-opted at times, wolf, as a political prop. i'm speaking to you from lafayette park watching this moment here in arlington cemetery in a place where the military was perhaps most visibly used as a prop. so this is very important that
president biden is going to tackle this issue, and i also think that we can't overstate the significance of what it will mean not only to have president biden in the white house, but jill biden, first lady, as well, wolf. i think we've seen this politicalization of the military. we'll see more of a shift towards a focus on military welfare. on the welfare of military families. of course, the first lady has renewed her initiative joining forces she championed when she was second lady and this is going to focus very much on military families. there's going to be a focus in this white house on veterans and we also have to understand in the oval office president biden is also a father of someone he lost a son, of course, and he has spoken about this, that he believes the reason beau biden died at 46 of brain cancer was because of something that plagued many veterans, wolf, and that is toxic exposure to burn
pits. he was exposed to them at an air base in iraq during this combat deployment and this is confronting, right now, the military community. the military family community. the veteran community, and now there is someone sitting in the oval office who's very aware of these problems and the ramifications of service, wolf. >> and's he ends, as you know, brianna, ends every speech with the words "god bless the troops." it is see, so close to his heart and we'll watch this unfold at this wreath-laying ceremony at arlington. jim sciutto is also watching this unfold and jim's done a lot of report involving national security issues. give a sense how significant this is, jim? >> wolf, we're seeing the military play two essential roles today. and for the days to come. one is operational. there are 25,000 national guardsmen deployed in the capital today. five times as many as the combined force now deployed to
iraq and afghanistan. two war zones. remarkable. and here because it is believed they are needed to capital the capitol and the inauguration safe. that's the operational role today and it's essential and not going to disappear tomorrow. i've spoken to folks in the biden administration. they know domestic terror will be a challenge for them going forward. an immediate assessment of the threat by the national security adviser, jake sullivan and discussion of strat yiegies and what to do to address it going forward. the other role, looking at pictures at arlington, the ceremonial role. wolf, that is not a second trip. right? that speaks to, as brianna was saying, about the role of the military being apolitical. in supports the peaceful transfer of power. we have a new commander-in-chief today, though many of the trappings of a peaceful transfer of power did not take place from the outgoing president or the violence seen on january 6th,
the military stayed consistent. i've been speaking to folks in the pentagon going back weeks now before the election and after and they wanted to maintain that lack of partisanship. right? and just one final image, if i can give you this, wolf. just moments ago a military honor guard arrived here at the would us in advance of president biden, representing all five branches of the military, army, navy, air force, marines, coast guard. they are now arrayed around the white house six feet apart. not an operation's role like the national guardsmen but a show of force, you might say, but a show of bipartisanship, and service. this is the military. it is now the commander-in-chief's. a new commander-in-chief's military and the country's military. that image as much as the operational role we're seeing out there by the national guardsmen has enormous substance and importance today. >> clearly the new president loves the military. i understand, jim, also getting
republic reaction to president biden's inaugural address. what are you learning? >> reach the out in particular, wolf, to those republicans, 139 in the house, as discussed many times, who even after the violence on january 6th still voted not to certify results of the election. i reached out to one of them, representative mark greene, i mention is a veteran pap military doctor and treated saddam hussein in iraq after his capture. i asked him what his reaction was to the words of biden today following his inauguration? his words to me were great words. let's hope it translates into action. i believe we need to be americans first. then party. again, it starts there. of course, that's something many republicans did not do with that vote to be certified, wolf. >> the former presidents now walking in. president clinton, president bush and president obama. they will be joining the new president, president biden. john, this is a symbolically
very significant moment. >> very important to the new president's effort to start off with a message of unity. very important to the new president's effort to start off with a message of respect. something, frankly, donald trump never got about the power of the presidency and the exclusivity of the president's club. bill clinton ran against george h.w. bush, wolf, we both covered that campaign. a very, very tough campaign. they became friends. >> george: w. bush ran against al gore, very much against the character crises of the bill clinton presidency. barack obama ran against john mccain, very much again george w. bush's iraq war. there they are. they understand the power of the presidency. the stress of the job, the responsibility of the job and so they are part of a unique club that it donald trump will never be welcomed in. donald trump never picked up the phone as president to call the former presidents, to does for their advice, kick around an idea. you can bet that joe biden will pick up the phone. obviously call his friend barack obama. his vice president. but you can bet within weeks or months we will hear of a phone
call to george w. bush or bill clinton to talk about a big issuing on the plate, just to solicit ideas , because he respects their work, respects the pressure, respects the institution. we nerve her that in the past four years and do again today. >> jamie gangel is getting reaction. what are you hearing from these it three former presidents, jamie? >> reporter: wolf, just to underscore what john king just said, this is the club of formers that donald trump is not going to be a part of. obviously, jimmy carter couldn't travel for this. but this is a group that there should be another former president in this picture today, if he had lived up to the office, and he did not. the other thing in addition to what john king said about joe biden reaching -- president
biden, excuse me me, reaching out to speak to these three, they have, you can be sure, already said to him, if there's anything you need, we're here for you, but they understand that they're respectful, they're not going to speak out. they will keep to the code of trying to be respectful of his time in office. >> yeah. i know for a fact that former president jimmy carter, who's 96 years old, god bless him. 96 years old, would have loved to be participating with this other former presidents, but at his age, it was simply impossible for him to leave plains, georgia, at this point, but his heart is certainly, i've spent quality time with him in recent years, his heart is certainly with these other former presidents as well as the new president of the united states. doug brinkley, our presidential historian is watching all of this together with us.
the history books will write about this day. >> well, no question about it. just -- you know, the fact that the formeder presidents being with joe biden showing the solidarity at arlington national cemetery. we talk about washington being dysfunctional and america being broken, but nobody thinks our armed forces are broken. they are loved by republicans, democrats, independents, and being at arlington right now is the exact right thing to do. bill clinton has been, i speak with him quite a bit, woullf. he's in chappaqua, writing a book but dying to get back home to arkansas. really, with the exception of john lewis' funeral, he doesn't travel much in the age of covid, because he had some health conditions, and barack obama started a major oral history project at columbia university, interviewing everybody from his
administration and, of course, building the obama center in chicago. and george w. bush does, stays in dallas. he's loved there. his presidential library is at southern methodist university and he's been painting to express himself including a whole new series of paintings about immigrants, and immigration in a way that would be in-line with the way joe biden thinks about immigration. it's really marvelous to have them all there. >> certainly is. and our other presidential hits tau historian is watching this unfold. your thoughts? >> 100 years ago on inauguration day, congress decided that a, an unidentified soldier who died in world war i would are buried at that spot, and for 100 years, that has been a sacred spot. i cannot imagine a more poignant place for our former presidents to gather to deliver a message,
a visual message of unity, at a time of anxiety, pain and suffering in our country. i also think that when the history of the last four years is written, the story of our military and how it generally lived up to the highest principles of its tradition, despite the pressure to be corrupted will be a powerful story. so i think it's also appropriate that this laying on of hands of the former presidents with president biden is occurring a a national sacred spot also at the beating heart of our military. >> such a powerful, powerful moment. and with us as well watching this unfold, a person who's done extensive reporting on the transition and transition to this new administration a new president and vice president, so significant and we see them beginning the memorial here, at
the tomb of the unknown. >> yeah. it's really an incredible moment and it's wonderful to see the former presidents. we know the obamas and bushes have a friendship. sort of an unlikely friendship. those wonderful shots of michelle obama with bush at the mccain funeral and then we also know just going back, george w. bush and clinton were sent to haiti. obama dispatched them to haiti. we know they've worked together, a famous relationship between george h.w. bush, of course, and bill clinton, and i think seeing them all together is special. >> there we see president biden walking in. he will be right at the center of this. let's listen in. >> attention! forward march.
wreath-laying at the tomb of the unknown soldier at arlington cemetery. i cannot imagine that president biden was not thinking of his favorite soldier, beau biden, his son who died of cancer, a major in the army reserve, and for whom he mourns greatly. a couple other things stood out to me. one, we've never seen a woman vice president before, and there you had the president, joe biden and the vice president, kamala harris, standing, looking at the tomb of the unknown soldier and it was striking. it's a visual we've never had in the united states, although they have had leaders in other countries, not here. and then also the striking absence of two remaining former presidents who are alive. jimmy carter who is old and infirmed, nots healthy enough to
travel, especially during a time of covid, but the immediate former president, donald trump. who is not there, because he apparently is not strong enough emotionally to be there. so quite striking visuals at the tomb of the unknown soldier. >> sure is, and, look. this is, you know, a day of celebration for joe biden, for his family, for the administration and for a lot of people in america and around the world, but there are, as you said, jake, moments of solemnity and that was definitely one of them. i want to add wa you said about seeing vice president harris standing there. we're going to have a lot of moments like this. firsts with the first. and it's an image that women across the political spectrum have been waiting to see for a very, very long time.
the woman standing in the position to be official and to, you know have that high rank with the spouse, you know, her husband, being in the back, and it's save for the speaker of the house, which we've gotten used to. >> and we've gotten used to it because she's been doing it for quite some time. this is going to be a new era in so many different ways. we saw it in the inaugural ceremonies, the diversity, of all kinds really, that was on display in that ceremony and the performers and the speakers and the types of families that were represented. all of that. and i think this new era is also going to include, as you said, just seeing people doing roles that we haven't seen before. joe biden has promised to have the most diverse cabinet in history, and so far he's had --
made a number of announcements that would be ground breaking. the first gay man, pete buttigieg, who will be nominated for the transportation secretary position. and others. so this is going to be a very different washington than we've seen in quite some time. but this is the beginning. >> yeah. and as we move from that moment to more festive moments, there are two different kinds of parades that we're going to see. i think we were just looking at some visuals, if we could put them back out, of the parade in washington, d.c. you see the metro police department, police motorcycles and then there will be other groups that follow metro d.c. police, including the color guard, the old guard, the marine corps honor guard and the like. we'll tell you about them when we see them. the metropolitan police department in washington, d.c., has just been through a very
rough period because of the attempted insurrection two weeks ago. mpd as they're called here, metropolitan police department, they were the reinforcements that ran into the capitol because the capitol police had not sufficiently -- their leadership had not sufficiently planned. the capitol police lost two capitol police, one that day and then another one lost, he took his own life. just ahead, we're going to see president biden walk into the white house for the first time as the commander in chief, as the new leader of this nation. and then the unprecedented parade across america begins, not just the actual parade that we were just showing you, but a virtual parade that's going to happen from coast to coast. we're going to cover it all. stay with us, we're going to squeeze in this quick break.
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inauguration. you're looking at live pictures from the north lawn of the white house over there. we're getting ready for a different kind of inaugural parade right now. soon president biden will make his way to the white house for the first time as the commander in chief, with military bands playing. then parade across america begins. a made-for-tv celebration tailoretailor ed to these truly unprecedented times. first we'll see a 21-gun salute in honor of the new president over in arlington national cemetery before he heads over to the white house. that's where jake is right now. jake, president biden isn't there yet but there's a lot of activity under way inside the white house right now. all right, jake, hold on for a moment. we've got an audio issue. we'll fix that and get back to you in a moment.
but the president is coming over from arlington national cemetery to the white house. there's going to be a celebration over there, a military honor guard is already gathering. the motorcade will be heading over to the white house momentarily. and then the president after the celebration, he'll actually do some business. he'll start signing some executive orders reversing several major decisions undertaken by the now former president, president trump. kaitlin collins is over at the white house right now for us. kaitlin, set the scene for us. >> reporter: wolf, it's notable because this is the first time that joe biden has been back at the white house since of course he and president obama left when donald trump was inaugurated four years ago when they had that meeting on the front steps of the white house greeting one another. this is his first time coming back because there was no pre-inauguration walk-through like typically new presidents do enjoy. of course biden is already familiar with the white house and the west wing. he's not someone who has to have his first time in the oval office.
it will be his first time in the oval office as president, which of course is notable for sure. and while he is at arlington cemetery on his way over for the parade in front of the white house, his staff is already under way getting to work inside the west wing, unpacking their offices, meeting with i.t. to get their computers hooked up and even the photos on the wall have changed, wolf, just in the last several hours. when we got here this morning they were blank walls. now they have been replaced with photos of the new president and the new first lady. those are already lining the walls of the west wing. just in a matter of hours. it's amazing how quickly they turn the white house over here. the other thing that's different is the covid protocols. for the last ten months or so of the trump administration, you often saw pretty lax protocols. sometimes masks were required, sometimes they weren't. senior staff were tested but sometimes they weren't tested on a daily basis. we're seeing a lot different practices already in place where staff are required to wear masks. so are reporters as well.
reporters are required to get tested to get on the white house grounds now on a daily basis. also they have installed plexiglass barriers on desks in the west wing. i saw secret service officers with them on there as well so you're already seeing some changes under way even before the new president has arranged here on the grounds, which we are expecting him to do in just a short matter of time, wolf. >> and it's so important that this new administration is setting a positive, important example for the american people. they're wearing masks everywhere. we see former presidents, the current president, the current vice president, they're all wearing masks and that is so, so important given this pandemic that's still very, very awful right now. phil mattingly is over at the white house as well looking -- he's overlooking the white house, i should say, right now. phil, what are you seeing? what are you hearing? >> reporter: i think kaitl input something forward that is important. that's what they want to lay out about