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Melania Trump's Designer; First Family's Dance. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 20, 2017 - 22:30   ET



[22:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And American designers as well. Obviously the American citizens. And it is -- I mean, each first family puts their own imprint in terms of style on the White House.

KATE ANDERSEN BROWER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And this is a very big family and very involved family. So, we'll see how they end up defining the role. I think it's interesting to if you look back at someone like Laura Bush, he chose Michael Faircloth to do one of her dresses during an inaugural ball, and that was a Dallas designer.

So, they can make someone's career when they -- and this isn't a career making thing. Because I don't think Carolina Herrera needs someone who make their career.

COOPER: She's doing pretty well.

BROWER: She's doing pretty well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, as Ralph Lauren.

BROWER: Exactly, exactly.

COOPER: But something like Jason Wu when Michelle Obama wore Jason Wu I think at first inaugural that was a big--


DEREK BLASBERG, CNN STYLE HOST: It was actually sort of it evolved into a very special relationship between Michelle and Jason Wu. Because the first inauguration dress together, the second inauguration dress together. And then this afternoon when she left she was wearing, Michelle, a Jason Wu dress and jacket.

COOPER: We are waiting here at freedom ball anticipating Donald Trump any moment now. This crowd very much -- they were able to watch on a monitor seeing the first couple dance. But clearly this is something they want to see with their own eyes in this hall as do all the folks at the service member's ball as well.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The people in the hall have been listening throughout the night. We haven't seen a lot of dancing.


KING: The Trump family and the Pence family get to dance. The people in the audience just mingling.

COOPER: It is so packed here. I mean, you know, the stage is on one side of the room, but the room it's an enormous cavernous hall here and is packed, I mean, hundreds deep. We're in the center of the room. And there are people really packed on all sides of us. As we said, it's $50 I think admission for each ticket here, so something which a lot of people who wanted to take part were able to.

BROWER: And if you are walking down the streets in Washington right now you hear people from all over the country.

COOPER: Yes. It's such a great, it's such a great thing. I mean, there's nothing quite like that feeling whether you're republican or democrat no matter what, to see a presidential motorcade passing by is an extraordinary sight. The first time you see it. It is really breathtaking.

I mean, it is just so -- I mean, the beast which the president rides in, there's just a sheer number of vehicles, the security, you have the sense this is the most important powerful person in the world.

KING: And in this town where you had the former president, now former President, President Obama was President -- he is leaving and he has his detail of the military bands, the military helicopters, so you're seeing the trappings of the presidency too, which is something that I think Donald Trump will very much enjoy.

He has the president's own marine band. Hail to the chief. He's now experience several times today for the first time. And he saw when he walked into the room the first time he was beginning to, about to begin his remarks then he realized I need to wait.

COOPER: Right.

KING: Until they finish. And again, the presidency is majestic office and some presidents had to blow through that stuff and other presidents really enjoy the ceremony and the circumstance.

COOPER: One of the thing there is of course, Donald Trump now finds himself inside a bubble the likes of which he has never been in. And obviously he had security for a long time, but now he has a level of security level, of Secret Service protection that is unprecedented for him.

And it's one of the things that President Obama talked about -- former President Obama talked about looking forward to kind of getting outside of that bubble.

KING: Every president complains, even though they cherish the Secret Service they understand how important it is for a security. I don't mean it as all as criticism the heroes who put their lives on the line for the president every day. But a president can't walk across the street, a president can't go out for a beer or burger or even a walk. Every now and then we do hear about first lady sneaking out. You know,

Hillary Clinton she wears a baseball cap and occasionally go sneak for a walk, Michelle Obama snack out of the White House but once your choice did to do some things I'll just it leave it at that.

But the president cannot. And you're right. You know, Donald Trump is used to having personal security because he has been a big chief executive of business. He has had always security around him, he's angered the media a few times by going after dinner without taking the protective press pool around him.

We'll litigate those issues another day. But in terms of his own personal movement he can't wake up the morning and look out and say it's sunny, I'm going to golf. Now he can go in an hour but can't just, he can't just walk out the door and hop in a car.


BROWER: And he can't make a phone call. I mean, they can't even make a phone call in the residence. So, one thing that President Clinton the day after the inauguration he tried to make a phone call and he thought he would get a dial tone. And it was the White House operators who are incredible people to find anyone in the world that a moment notice.

But he was upset, because he just wanted to dial out. And so, with little things like that. And I think Melania bringing that gift today was also really interesting. The tiffany gift for the first lady, Laura Bush -- Michelle Obama did the same thing with Laura Bush and that took all of Laura Bush's aides by surprise because that's not part of protocol. So, I think it's all learning the protocol.

[22:05:08] COOPER: Well, it was interesting to see today, when they handed over the gift which appeared to be in tiffany wrapping, there was no aide to take the gift.


COOPER: And it ended up with the president taking the gift and walking back into the White House to give to some aide. There were marines standing by but you obviously not going to hand it to a marine or Secret Service. So I thought that was kind of a very interesting telling moment.


KING: Not their job. The marines. It's interesting when you cover the White House, one of the clues, you know, ironically sometimes show the West Wing of the White House, and if you just the building no marine that the president is not in the West Wing. If the marine is outside, president is in the West Wing. It's one of your cue as reporter.

COOPER: Donald Trump being introduced. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, it is our honor to present

to you the 45th President of the United States, Donald j. Trump, and the First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you. Thank you very much. Hello, folks.


Our first lady. Well, we just want to thank everybody. This has been an amazing journey for all of us. Not just me and not just Melania, it's been an amazing -- it's been an amazing journey. And now the work begins. We have to get it done. And we'll get it done.


There is so much spirit in our country, this is such a great country, and we are going to do things. We will not be taken advantage of anymore. OK?


We will not. We're going to have those companies come pouring back in. You see what's been happening over the last three weeks. And we're going to have a lot of things happen and you're going to read about them and I don't know.

Let me ask you, should I keep the Twitter going or not? Keep it going? I think so. I think so.


You know, the enemies keep saying oh, that's terrible, but you know, it's a way of bypassing dishonest media right? We go.

But I just want to thank you. We started out -- we weren't given a great chance but we knew we were going to win. And you know, it took two weeks before we went to number one, not a long time.

And the first week was composed in terms of the phony polls, it was compose of two days. So we were at number one and we stayed there the entire route during the primaries, and then boy, did I work, those last four weeks I worked.


That was some job. We did a good job together. And I'll tell you what, many of the people in this room went to those rallies with us, right? They went to those rallies.


I saw one person on television tonight, incredible family, her and her husband, she said we've gone to 42 Trump rallies. I said 42? Forty two. But we did, we have a lot of people that went to a lot of the rallies and it showed up -- and you know when we went in, I really felt, that last week, in particular I said, how are we going to lose? How can we lose? It's just too much.

There has never been a movement like this anywhere in the world, there's never been anything like this.


So, I am so looking forward -- I've already just -- I just left actually the Oval Office because -- because our great General Mad Dog Mattis was approved, was approved tonight.


[22:10:11] The Senate approved. He was first. And I went to sign, and Mike Pence who is coming out in a second, signed -- you saw what happened, right? He just swore him in. And General Kelly, the border, the border, that border we're going to have a border again. And he was approved tonight by the Senate.

So we're starting to work and we're going to do a great job. We are not going to let you down. Remember the theme -- make America great again. And -- make America great again -- I'll tell you what, I've added since I got to know so many people in this country, greater than ever before. It will happen.


So, I want to thank everybody for being with us and for sticking with us and it's been an amazing experience, and now the fun begins. OK? Now the fun begins. We're going to do a really good job, and I will be fighting every single day for you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you and have a great time. Thank you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now the President and first lady of the United States will take their first dance. Ladies and gentlemen, the first couple, Donald and Melania Trump.

[22:15:00] (MUSIC PLAYING)




COOPER: And that is the moment so many of the thousands of people in this crowd in this room tonight at freedom ball have been waiting to see, the 45th President of the United States, First Lady Melania Trump and the entire First Family, as well as Vice President Pence and his wife and his kids.

That is the moment. And it's not over yet. One more inaugural ball, official inaugural ball for the first family to go and visit, and to dance at as well. It's interesting, we saw about 15 minutes ago Donald Trump's first

appearance, now speaking a little bit more casually, a little bit longer, it will be interesting to see what he says at service members ball, which is obviously imitation only and its for service members and wounded warriors and first responders.

KING: And the first question to his supporter was should I keep the Twitter going?

COOPER: Right. Yes.

KING: I think he knows the answer to the question, but he has to set a different device to do it now because he is the President of the United States and he has to act in a secure environment.

But again, he's comfortable with his supporters. He likes interacting with his supporters. Talking about how so many people including allies and friends told him not such a good idea candidate Trump, President- elect Trump, now President Trump. But it's clear, he said it's his way to keep in touch with his supporters and to combat at times what he believes is inaccurate reporting.

COOPER: And it's so interesting, I mean, Donald Trump is still talking about the campaign, still litigating the details, the poll numbers, going through that. And I think for sometimes to come, we're likely to hear that.

KING: I'm not sure we will ever hear the end of it, in part because it does shed up hi underdog story.

COOPER: Right.

KING: Here's a man who, you know, incredibly successful in the business community, does not lack for an ego and I don't say that to critics that you don't become president of the United States without (Inaudible) at this level without healthy ego. He wears his more openly than many other politicians.

Do they try to confide it. He doesn't. But this is -- this is part of his brand. And I think we have to get used to it. Some people would still think there are still some people thinking as he becomes president he's going to change who he is. I wouldn't put a lot of money on that bet.

COOPER: I don't think many people in this that -- in this hall think that nor they want at clearly. They love what he said tonight and I'm sure at the next ball will as well.

And Washington really has been full today. You know, you probably saw some -- you know, some I think more than 100 or so people, not sure of the exact number at this point were arrested, some throwing rocks and things at police. There were some confrontations. By and large, though, overwhelmingly peaceful today.

KING: Right.

COOPER: And there hundreds of thousands of people who came to this great city to take part in this extraordinary day.

KING: We have seen little very tastes of his style, his way about going business. We talked earlier about his inaugural address was a lecture to professional politicians but then he was using in discussing deals with them literally using trading pens as he sign the documents as part of a joke. I think a metaphor of what to come.

Can he take the art of the deal from business world into the governing world? He communicates in a very different way. He uses social media like no other politician even though he's the oldest man ever elected to the President of the United States. He has been since day one in this, in the political arena a disruptive force. That will continue in the presidency without a doubt.

COOPER: John King has been wondering who the designer was, who design Melania Trump's dress all night long.


KING: Give me a (Inaudible) I've seen over here. I have it.

COOPER: He's been asking Derek. He's been asking. Derek, you have the answer.

BLASBERG: I have the answer. It was a designer called Herve Pierre, who curiously worked for Caroline Herrera for more than 20 years. And when he was there dressed Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Obama, and Mrs. Clinton. It's sort of interesting to note that this was the first time that he sort of struck out on his own.

I don't know weird way perhaps we'll see something similar to what Michelle Obama did with Jason Wu, in the sense that maybe she is trying to foster a relationship with a new name on the fashion scene.

COOPER: And as we said something like this for a new designer or a designer who is striking on their own for the first time, I mean, it's a game changer.

BLASBERG: It's a 100 percent a game changer. This guy is going to be on the front page of every newspaper tomorrow. What's interesting is that a lot of fashion fans misidentified that dress as Caroline Herrera when she walked out. Because a lot of the hallmarks of that fashion house were there.

[22:20:00] So, I think it was a hit. She look beautiful. I think it was simple, elegant.

BROWER: Yes. It's only the beginning for her scrutiny, for scrutiny about everything that she wear. I mean, Michelle Obama wore a dress to the Chinese state dinner designed by Alexander McQueen's house and came under a lot of criticism for wearing that dress because people said she should she have picked an American designer instead of a British house.

So, I think this is just the beginning for Melania of state dinners and public events where everything she wears are going to be scrutinized.

COOPER: We've seen there an extraordinary variety of Entertainment Tonight as Donald Trump and Melania Trump and the Pence's are heading toward the next ball, the third and final inaugural ball. The next act that we're going to bring is a group of silhouettes. It's a group of 40 kids age 4 to 19.

And you have seen then on "America's Got Talent" season 6. They went on to second out of 100,000 acts. Here they are.

[22:25:00] (MUSIC PLAYING)


COOPER: That is the group Silhouettes, you probably saw them on "American Idol" -- excuse me, "America's Got Talent" season 6, I think they placed second overall.

We're going to take a short break, when we come back, waiting for Donald Trump, the last dance from Donald Trump and Melania Trump of the evening at the next ball. We'll be right back.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome back to our special coverage of the Donald Trump inaugural gala, this is the armed services ball. You are looking right now at stage where Donald and Melania Trump will appear.

They are on their way over to where we are right now. They've of course at the end of that two of the balls the liberty and the freedom. This ball very special one, and a unique ball of the three balls.

There are about 30,000 people of the other two balls. This ball, Dana and Kate is much smaller and more intimate affair.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are only about 2500 people who are here, all of them from the armed services and first responders.

[22:30:05] Donald Trump will come here, he will do the first dance and then he and the first lady will dance with service members. They will also be -- he will also have a chance to speak to--



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are only about 2500 people who are here, all of them from the armed services and first responders.

Donald Trump will come here, he will do the first dance and then he and the first lady will dance with servicemembers. They will also be -- he will also have a chance to speak to troops who are in Iraq, in Afghanistan, there will be a two-way camera.

They won't be able to see their commander in chief, but they will be able to hear him. They will be able to have a conversation. So, that is going to be a very important moment and a poignant moment here at this ball.

On the stage behind us and we can show that one more time, they are going to be actually. And then that stage will recede and a fountain will come up in the middle of it.

BASH: Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Which I had a chance to see the other day behind-the-scenes. So, it's actually going to go away, a fountain will come up and this will be a very special celebration?

BASH: I have the Bellagio in my head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not quite the Bellagio.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But I would imagine given Donald Trump and you know, as we know he's done his office in gold, maybe that was different election here, let's do that. Melania Trump of course wearing as we now know the Herve Pierre gown.

And that we understand but he designed her down as been working for Carolina Herrera who of course Ivanka Trump's gown for 14 years and left Carolina Herrera in February.

Kate, this is pretty interesting story. He's lived in the United States for 20 years.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Born in France but American in many ways. Twenty years in this country.

BETTS: Yes. But also very French in the sense that he's a real dressmaker. He went to the haute couture school in Paris and he also designed for the haute couture house style Ma for many years. And I think was very young when he was appointed the designer there in the 90s, early 90's, maybe in the late 80's.

And he's actually -- he's a very talented dressmaker. And that dress is very beautifully made. I mean, it falls perfectly.


BETTS: That's a real couture dress.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And made for her. He put out a statement in Women's Wear Daily has it. Let me just read a little bit of it. "It's an honor to dress the first lady," Pierre says, "I was actually lucky because in my over 20 years in the United States I dressed all the first ladies. Mrs. Clinton had asked for Laurent, Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Obama at Carolina Herrera. So, I feel lucky and honored to dress Melania Trump but this time under my name."

And as Dana and I were sort of joking it's a very Trumpian way to take credit. Obviously it's gorgeous dress, but--

BASH: Sure is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- this is the first time he's been able to put his own name on the first lady's ensemble.

BASH: Absolutely. And look, there is life to that. I certainly defer to you on how unusual it is to release a statement like that. I don't know. If I were Carolina Herrera how I would feel about that but for someone like everybody who is in the fashion world doesn't know who her lead designer, right?


BETTS: Right. And also, I mean, he dressed them as the head designer.

BASH: Right.

BETTS: And he was the one who was measuring them and creating the, actually creating the dresses with the seamstresses. So, I think fair to say that he dressed them and it's also first to say that this is his first dress for a first lady under his own name.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he said that they worked on this obviously personally but it sounds like it's very much one of a kind, a one of kind item just for her.


BASH: Until we see the knockoffs tomorrow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It was an amazing experience, she knows what she likes. Our conversations were and are very easy, she knows about fashion as a former model. She is aware about constructions, so we have already to think vocabulary when it comes to designing.

BASH: Sure. I'm sure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But obviously this was something they worked on for quite some time and was a personal collaboration.

BETTS: Yes. And maybe she's -- he's probably dressed her before also, so they probably knew each other.

BASH: And you've known him for quite some time.

BETTS: I've known him for many, many years. In fact, I wrote about him for Vogue I think in the early, early 90s, maybe even '91 when he first went to (Inaudible) as the head designer there. And he's a very charming guy.

BASH: Right. If you think back then when you met him when he was young and starting that he would be--


BASH: -- dressing the first lady?

BETTS: You know, I didn't think that back then but I'm not surprised. because I think he's very talented.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you know, another big question of course is what does it do for him? And we talked about Michelle Obama and her incredible power in fashion whether it was J. Crew or Target or Jason Wu, right. She has this ability. It's about the test. These people that she made into designers.

BETTS: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has a very famous designer in his own right but now his own name is out there.

BETTS: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But obviously the price point we're talking about for a gown like this, I mean, I don't even know what it would be it is certainly not something that any regular normal person could wear.

BETTS: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even if they could actually pull off a white skin, you know.

BETTS: Skin-tight dress.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Skin-tight dress, right.

BETTS: But you know, this puts his name on the global stage in a major way. And even if he was well-known before in the fashion industry or in the New York fashion circles or even in America, now he's globally known.

And I remember when Michelle Obama began wearing Jason Wu and all those designers, they all talked about how exciting that moment was when the first lady first appeared in their dress. You know, it's a life changing moment for these designers no matter what. And it's very exciting. I love that. [22:35:01] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we understand Donald and Melania

Trump are now here in this building. So they should be coming out momentarily for that dance.

I have to say I remember the last time when I was doing this exact same job for CNN, and President Obama and Michelle Obama came out, and just sort of the awe that hits the room when the president walks out, it's hard to explain it when you're at home you're watching the dance after the dance after dance.


BASH: Air in the room changes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You feel it. The air changes.

BASH: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And there is a real awe.

BASH: No question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then of course all of the smartphones go up. And everybody film it.

BASH: And I think that obviously because of the way you described where we are, at the Armed Services ball, it's a whole different level. Because they're going to see their commander in chief for the first time. The intimate group of you said 2500 people who are here, and their spouses and their dates are going to be able to see in person, very close. It's very small.


BASH: Their brand new commander in chief. You know. Pretty remarkable moment to witness.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And they're already been obviously here. They've already mentioned the now Secretary of Defense, James Mattis who has taken the oath of office. We have Secretary Kelly. It will be interesting to see if they play any role at all.

But you know, one of the first thing that Secretary Mattis came out and said was he is going to be working closely with the intelligence community. That is what keeps this country safe. It's going to be interesting to see Donald Trump has now made comments at both of the other balls.

What are the comments that he made here? Do they reference, obviously -- I'm sure they will reference General Mattis, that would be my bet as Secretary of Defense but we will see with all of this controversy with the intelligence department.

BASH: Right. My guess is, you're right. But it's hard to imagine him not talking about his wonderful, fantastic, amazing defense secretary, using his terms. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

BASH: And look, (Inaudible) he's very well respected. I mean, he flew through the Senate, both the committee and the whole Senate. He was confirmed very swiftly.


BASH: Because of the really deep respect that he has on both sides of the aisle. But for the first two speeches that Donald Trump gave as President in these balls, this festive occasions, you know, there were certainly still those references to the campaign, you know, some biting words with the other side, enemies, people who didn't support him.


BASH: The media. Which I guess, you know, we're just going to have to get used to unfortunately. but hopefully we don't. Maybe he'll change his mind. But I think at the end of the day the question is whether he gets used to the idea that that's the past and he's now the leader of the free world and it's time to move forward.

And it's not his enemies versus the people who supported him. It's - he's president of everybody, all of us, every American citizen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. And we'll see -- we'll see about his tone. Obviously the last one he talked about his Twitter.

BETTS: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, to a roar of applause. You know, obviously he was preaching to his choir very much so that ball. But not -- that was the Donald Trump that we saw on the campaign trail.

BETTS: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the Donald Trump we've seen at the past two balls when he walked out, Kate, very much that way.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, you know, Dana, the other question of course is, you know, when he comes out, you know, the response here may be different. I mean, there's a lot of emotion. And when he--


BASH: No question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was going to be speaking to troops, we will see the screens. He will be able to talk to men and women who are currently serving their lives on the line who are in Iraq and Afghanistan tonight. That will be a poignant moment and it would be amazing to see how he handles that moment, what he says to them. BASH: Yes, absolutely. And the fact that he is going to speak to

people in the room and you were reporting that he's also going to speak people actually deployed, that are actually his responsibility now, who are in war zones.

Even though president Obama, former President Obama pulled troops back from Iraq, pulled troops out of Afghanistan, American servicemen are still abroad and they're still serving this country and very much in harm's way, no question about it. And that's not going to end. And now they're looking to him for guidance because he is, as you said their commander in chief.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. We are waiting for Donald and Melania Trump to walk out on the stage. They will be coming out in just a couple of moments. And we will take a brief break and be back with the first dance here at this very special ball.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome back to CNN Tonight. You're watching continuing coverage of Donald Trump's inauguration of the inaugural galas. Right now, this is the Armed Services ball, Donald and Melania Trump are in the building. But they will momentarily be coming out on there on that stage. They will dance and then -- and this is what is one of the many special things about this particular ball, the Armed Services ball, which is the smallest the most intimate.

It is Armed Services members only and first responders, about 2500 people, Donald and Melania Trump will then dance with members of the military. And Mike and Karen Pence also will dance with members of the military. It is a special tradition that they are going to honor tonight. There is also a cake cutting that will honor that tradition here at the Armed Services ball.

And then Donald Trump will have an opportunity to speak with American men and women who are serving right now, their lives on the line overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, including from Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan and the United States embassy in Baghdad.

All of that going to happen here momentarily. And as I mentioned before, that stage you see shaped like the silver dollar after all that dancing will then be removed and a fountain will come up.

And I'm here with Dana and Kate. One of the things as we've awaited and this is the final ball up, there's been a lot of entertainment; people have been here all night. They're waiting. It's packed. And most of the people here are incredibly young--

BASH: They are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- and some of the people here visibly are injured. They have served.

BASH: That's right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have sacrificed and they have lost so much. And it's a very emotional place to be when you see that and you realize so tangibly what this country has gone through and the people who have sacrificed for this country during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

BASH: No question. A lot of wounded warriors here. Those were -- this is a group not just wounded warriors but veterans and service people in general who were honored at the parade today across from the viewing stand which is part of the White House.

[33:45:09] And watching them come by and watching the new president salute over and over and over at the different groups of servicemen, not necessarily military but you know, from the police in New York to, you know, Indiana and so forth.

But this is different. And look he is the new president has made very clear and made a very specific promise that he's going to do whatever he can to change the care that veterans get. And that is going to be one the things that we are watching to see how he does that.

You know, his most immediate predecessor Barack Obama tried to do it. There was certainly a lot of problems. Drew Griffin broke a lot of stories about real horrible unacceptable problems at the V.A., and that was -- I was out on the campaign trail with Donald Trump and I know you were rallies too, listening to him in the way he spoke very passionately about fixing that.

And there's no question that's something that everybody in this room heard and will listen for tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it's going to be a crucial question. Because you know, as he's talking to people he's going to serve, he's talking about V.A. secretary, obviously now he has made that decision, and pick them by the way, democrats like as well as republicans.

BASH: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He says I'm full on board behind. You know, but changing V.A. is very hard. Barack Obama did try to do it. He had a commission chaired by the chairman of the Cleveland Clinic Toby Cosgrove.

BASH: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were not able to get a lot of those changes through.

BASH: That's right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And when you think about what has to happen with Congress, it is a lot easier said than done.

BASH: It is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it is going to be incredibly challenging and it will say a lot about Donald Trump, to the level of detail he's going to go to make changes to the V.A., but something that matters so much to the people in this room.

BASH: You know, as you were saying that I was thinking that this could be, the V.A. could be the classic case study in Donald Trump's clash between Washington moving at such a frustrating glacial pace even when there's a dire need for change such as the V.A.


BASH: And Donald Trump and his sensibility is just do it, do it, get it done. Fix it, come on, let's go, let's do it. And those are going to clash with this issue.


BASH: And look, I mean, let's hope in this -- in this case for sure, Donald Trump, you know, if he finds a better way to help people who are wounded and who have served this country and then retire from the military and need medical care can get it in a better way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the mood in this room is very celebratory, you know, remembers as we talk about some of this very weighty issues, Kate, one of the things that I find interesting as we can look around to show everyone. Remember, those giant columns they're all lit up.

This originally -- and as I said I had a chance to talk to Tom Barrack who is the chairman of the inaugural committee here a couple of days ago as he was getting ready that's when I saw the fountain.

And this used to be the national pensioners location.

BETTS: That's right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, after the wars they didn't have any way to get pensions to the soldiers. So, they actually built this. This way they would come to collect their pensions. The side doors are very wide because it was for the horses to come in. That this is, you know, the other balls as lovely as they were they were in a big modern convention.

BETTS: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This location is a real part of American history. And you can see from the decor.

BETTS: It feels more historical, it feels very grand with the columns and the lighting and the beautiful rose bouquets on the tables.

BASH: Yes. And I've been in a lot of buildings in the city and this is my favorite for the reason you just talked about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your favorite really? Because you know what, you live here.


BASH: I mean, well, first of all because of the history, but also it's hard to see because, you know, the big built is a beautiful stage, but the architecture and the building itself. I mean, if you just look at that column, I mean, it's absolutely gorgeous. And you know, even when there's nothing in it, and it's very, very large, for the reason you said, for the reason this is built.


BASH: But even when its cavernous, you just come in and look at the building itself, even there's nothing in here, because it's just so well done.

BETTS: Yes, it is. It's beautiful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The scale is beautiful. And I think also when you see they are going to be coming out on the

stage, in the other ball locations you had 25 or 30,000 people they said would be. This stage is very small.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you know, you can literally from where we're sitting to where that stage is, is what 30 feet?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And everyone that is attending this ball is between us and the stage.

BASH: Pretty much.


BASH: Around the edges.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, when Donald Trump comes here, this is not going to be talking to a big black room where all he sees is lights in his face as it was in the other ball.

BASH: Everybody here is lit up. So he can see them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, he can see everybody.


BASH: That's right.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is going to be very intimate and that is going to be another thing, a very, you know, this is going to be different than anything else that's happened tonight.

BASH: That's right. That's right. And that's why, I mean, they're going to have their dance and they are going to follow the protocol of past presidents at this ball, with dancing with the service people and also the cake. But again it's the speech that I'm -- that I'm we've seen the dance, we know about the dress.

[22:50:01] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

BASH: All of the other pomp and circumstance, we saw a couple of speeches that were vintage Donald Trump, how he addresses the people in this room who are so important to this country and to him, I can't wait.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is. I know. I really can't wait to see it. And I also think that we know he does things his own way but the fact that he is adhering the protocol--


BASH: I think he danced to a song like that. That I did it my way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sort of a motto that he had.

BASH: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But among the many traditions that he had chosen to keep today is that they will be dancing with -- and the way it works is he's going to dance with someone from the U.S. navy. Melania Trump with someone from the U.S. army.

BASH: Lucky him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mike Pence, Air Force -- I know. And the marine will dance with Karen Pence. They are going to--


BASH: And lucky him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: .. and then the cake cutting. You know, that these are the things that are always done that they're going to do.

BETTS: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know Donald Trump is not someone that loves pomp and circumstance in many ways. Going to go in and get it done.


BASH: And he's only doing three balls.


BASH: Of which you know, for any normal human, three balls is a lot. Like one is a lot. But most presidents in modern times do--



BETTS: Reagan did nine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right. At times a half a dozen to close to a dozen.

BASH: A lot. A lot. And you know, he said, he shortened the -- cut the number of balls to three. Shorten the parade. You know about the speech it was very short. You know, he enjoys the show but he wants it to be a tight show.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. He wants the show done a certain way.

BASH: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Again they were saying Donald Trump cared about every detail. He said leave the place settings to me. All right. He cared about the flowers, the decorations, he wanted these balls to be done just so.

So, you know, when you talk about Melania Trump and her dress, we talked about how he redecorated the Oval Office today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He cared. He is the one who wanted those shades and that brocade sofa.

BETTS: And I'm guessing that he wanted the columns behind us to be gold also.



BASH: Probably. Doesn't it surprise you? I mean, you have -- when did you start covering Donald Trump?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Since I've been covering I don't know, at this point about 12 years or so.

BASH: So, you've known him, I mean, you've known him in the "Apprentice" world but also really in the business world.


BASH: Because you've covered business for so long.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. So, it's true. And you know, he's never in all those years that I've known him changed.

BASH: He's not changed. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. And in fact, some of the issues that he talks about now, whether be the military, some of the things he said about oil, certainly China and currency, that has been unchanged for over a decade.

So, some of the things he says are new, but when people often say well, you know, does he mean any of these things? Some of them yes.

BASH: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very much so. And some of the things that are very relevant to the people in this room without question.

BASH: Yes, no question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And so, they are behind stage. We don't know exactly what the delay, there's a little bit of a delay. You know, we had speculated, we don't know, and some speculated, whether the secretary of defense would come here. Because obviously he was sworn in.

BASH: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whether the secretary of homeland security would come here, Secretary Kelly and Secretary Mattis, we don't know but I would imagine they would get a very positive reception. Secretary Mattis is a real hero to many in this room.

BASH: No question. I mean, look, he's one of them. You know, part of the -- it was a very, very brief question, because it a little bit jarring, that President Trump nominated somebody who has only been retired from the military for a few years.

And it just breaks with the tradition and now the law of this country that the military is civilian run, but because General Mattis is so well-respected, and frankly, because democrats and republicans understand that Donald Trump has no experience in national security.

And Mattis is literally a historian and scholar of national security, obviously military history as well, they did away -- I mean, they gave him the waiver. Said it's OK and he could become the civilian head even though he was in uniform just a few years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you know, Donald Trump has often talked in about his links to the military, where he gone you know, briefly to military school, but it's Mike Pence who really has a tie. And you know, we saw today when he was passing you know, the guards that he -- I saw visible emotion. He was tearing up. His son was in the military. And I know, you had a chance. You know, you just interviewed Mike Pence yesterday.

BASH: Yesterday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's your chance to talk to him about the importance of that to him? BASH: I did. Because I was -- I was thinking and I asked him

beforehand if his son who is a marine who is in training now in training in Pensacola to be a pilot, whether when he was taking the oath and sitting there with his son, now a marine, whether he would be thinking about the weight of the responsibility that he, and of course, the commander in chief, the president, will have on the fate of his own son.

Never mind his own son's brothers and sisters in the military? You know, Mike Pence likes to turn it on, you know, sort of deflect on issues like that.


[22:55:01] BASH: And make clear as he's right about, that it is really the president's decision. But you're absolutely right. I saw that. I saw that he was very emotional with regard to all that the pomp and circumstance and military aspect. And there's no question that is because he has a son who is a marine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you realize, you know, that it is people his son's age. I mean, as you point out, a lot of people here are veterans, some of them older but the majority of them are young, and so young. And you are always struck by that when it comes to events like this. And how young they are, the people who are fighting and are making huge sacrifices for this country.

BASH: That's right, volunteers. It's country over everything else and they will do whatever it takes for country and they make a lot of sacrifices and also I'm looking at the spouses here, who make sacrifices, a lot of sacrifices in very, very different ways.


BASH: You know, long distance -- long times, not seeing their spouse. Perhaps the person who's deployed or at least off in training or wherever they are, not seeing their kids.

BETTS: Huge sacrifices.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you know, when we talk about the dancing, we'll see if the whole families come out again, the Pence family and the Trump family.

BETTS: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But there is so much. And it's a wonderful thing for Americans to be able to do after such a nasty campaign to be able to enjoy a night like this. When you look at all of the different dresses which one stands out the most to you tonight as a favorite?

BETTS: Well, I think I like, I think Ivanka's dress was quite beautiful. We didn't see it as much as we saw in Melania's, but the gold sleeves and the gold detailing I thought was quite beautiful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it had that kind of-- (CROSSTALK)

BETTS: Very romantic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- princess waist, whatever -- I'm not good at words on fashion, but the bottom of it. Yes.

BETTS: Yes. I thought that was very romantic. I think Melania's dress is beautifully made but it's not as romantic as Ivanka's dress.


BETTS: but Ivanka is with that wide bottom, obviously princess style.


BETTS: That's what I would say for a lack of better term. Very different also than Donald Trump's daughters-in-law, both of whom are wearing, you know, the sequined sort of style as Ivanka but a more traditional fitted gown.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were all wearing gold, too, weren't they? You were saying that was planned.


BETTS: The theme is recurring. The columns, the curtains.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do I dress this--


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think he was involved in this?

BASH: I don't think Ivanka would have loved that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sure. I'm sure though that he did care about that.

BASH: I'm sure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, because he know -- he doesn't want -- God forbid in the same dress or a conflicting dress where the colors don't look good together, right?

BETTS: No. And like I said earlier, it's like a tableau, it's like a painting. You want to see at all in harmony and you want to see them all look their best together.

BASH: You know, the other thing I was thinking as we were watching, you know, we're talking a lot about the Trumps and about the Pence's but about them together. Because for the past eight years we got used to seeing the Obamas and the Biden's together.

I mean, we saw the long goodbyes over the past two weeks of, you know, Obama talking about their 'bromance'--


BASH: -- and calling him brother, but it wasn't just them, it was the wives, the first and second lady, and also the kids. And obviously they're very different generations.

The Pence's and the Trumps couldn't be more different in terms of their background. I mean, it could not be more different. The Pence's are genuine salt of the earth Midwestern people and the Trumps are New Yorkers. And everything that goes with that. And so, the melding of those two families will be really interesting to see how, and if that happens.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And there was a moment, you know, as you start to see, you see them together.

BASH: Look it's early.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But it appears genuine. You know, Donald Trump reached over -- I don't know if you saw during the inauguration -- he reached over and touched Mike Pence.

BASH: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's just sort of a moment. And it seems that they are really are starting to build a bit of a camaraderie, which is not easy. It is not easy. There is really no one who can say that they have a sort of camaraderie with Donald Trump in that sort of way--

BASH: That's right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- because he doesn't usually invite that. So, if Mike Pence and he were able to build that kind of relationship it would I think shock many and be very significant.

BASH: Right. And my sense is that as Donald Trump has gotten to know a lot more about what he doesn't know, that the national security aspect of his job in particular, he has relied much more on Mike Pence for ideas. For example, who should be my CIA director? Maybe it's my former colleague in the house, Mike Pompeo, or other ideas for those roles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. We are moments away. They are going to come out here any moment as we said. Let's hand it off now to Don Lemon for our continuing coverage of the inaugural gala here at the Armed Services ball.

[23:00:09] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Thank you, Erin. I appreciate that.

I'm Don Lemon. This is CNN Tonight.