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CNN Live Event/Special
Joe Biden Wins The U.S. Presidential Election; Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) Is Interviewed About His Endorsement Of President-Elect Joe Biden; President-Elect Biden To Speak Tonight At 8:00 P.M. E.T.; Trump Falsely Claims Illegal Ballots Are Changing The Election; Biden To Appoint Coronavirus Task Force Tonight. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired November 07, 2020 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: They have -- like having a brake valve for the Congress in general. And they're OK with a president who is less erratic, who has given them a lot of heartburn over the last four years. If you're being honest, President Trump has not made the life of some Republican senators in particular -- particularly easy.
And Joe Biden presidency, though they disagree. I would be seen even I think in Congress as a relief for something.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Not being chased after in the hallway is about every tweet that the leader of their party had out there.
PHILLIP: That they had not seen because they don't really tweet.
BASH: Not to say that he's not going to be tweeting. He is going to be tweeting, he just not going to be --
TAPPER: They don't have to respond to it anymore.
DAYNA: As the president -- as the president, exactly.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. They have to lie to reporters anymore and say they haven't seen the tweet. They can just oppose Joe Biden's policies and -- or try to work with them. Let's go outside the White House. President Trump, as far as we know is still golfing. But outside the White House, there is quite a crowd of celebrants, Vivian Salama is in the crowd covering this for us, Vivian. Tell us what you're seeing.
VIVIAN SALAMA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Jake. That's right outside the White House, we're about 100 feet outside the north side of the White House right now. And within seconds of CNN and other news organizations calling the race for Biden, the crowd started flowing into this area of downtown D.C. Now for folks who are not familiar with D.C., I want to sort of paint the picture, I'm standing at the corner of 8th Street and 16th Street in northwest which was renamed Black Lives Matters Plaza.
And so right behind me, you see crowds now gathering all the way down Black Lives Matters Plaza, chanting and cheering for Joe Biden. And that celebration has continued as we've been here, folks cheering when the race was close to some of these organizations called the Nevada - State of Nevada for Biden, then the chants started again, you have groups of gay rights, LGBTQ protesters and demonstrators, activists who are out here celebrating their victories.
Trans people have been out here celebrating. You have a lot of women with the bells, Muslims who are coming out here as a group to celebrate this victory for Joe Biden and what it means for them sort of in this transition. Some interesting chants as well. We heard the crowd a few moments ago chanting for Stacey Abrams, celebrating the role that she has played in Georgia, to help get Democrats in the forefront of this race and potentially slip that state.
And so, this cloud is growing by the second. And you can see, it's hard for us to see where we're standing. But we can't even see the end of it on Black Lives Matters Plaza. The crowd stretches all the way down. And they continue to go, Jake. So, I think we're going to see a lot more celebrations in the hours ahead.
TAPPER: That's right. A lot of celebrations in a spot where not long ago protesters were being gassed so that President Trump could walk to the church there. Vivian, why don't you walk around the crowd there a little bit, if you can, let us see a little bit more --
SALAMA: We're going to try, Jake. Our signal -- our signal is very -- we'll try to walk around and then take you through our signal is very fragile right now. But we're going to try to walk around and hopefully we don't lose you. But here we go. If we can take a little walk here. You can see some of these signs around here. A lot of -- a lot of signs -- you're fired, you know, echoing President Trump's -- from his talking a reality show.
TAPPER: All right. Yes. We're losing the --- we're losing the signal. Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Probably a lot of satellite action going on there right now.
PHILLIP: A lot of people down there.
TAPPER: A lot of people down there, a lot of cell phones. I want to read some of the -- some of the more -- some of the celebratory and congratulatory notes that are coming in. Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and a close ally of President Trump, somebody's kind of in the mold of President Trump. This is going to sting for President Trump. Sending a note, saying congratulations to Joe Biden on his election as President of the United States.
And to Kamala Harris on her historic achievement. The U.S. is our most important ally. And I look forward to working closely together on our shared priorities from climate change to trade and security. That's going to leave a mark. And then former President Bill Clinton, less of a surprise, America spoken democracy is one now we have a president- elect and vice president-elect who will serve all of us and bring us all together. Congratulations to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, on your momentous victory.
BASH: And Jake, you know, just in the last couple of days, our colleague Cristina Alesci, has been doing some reporting about what's going on in the business world, and how they're looking at this period that could be actually quite unstable for the United States in which you have a president-elect and a sitting president who may not concede and they've made it very clear they're going to try to inch towards stability as much as possible even to the point potentially, of weighing in to say respect the results of the election.
TAPPER: So there's a new statement from Barack Obama, the 44th, President of the United States and the former boss of now President- elect Joe Biden, saying I could not be prouder to congratulate our next President Joe Biden, and our next First Lady Jill Biden. I also couldn't be prouder to congratulate Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff for Kamala's groundbreaking election as our next Vice President.
And this election, under circumstances never experienced Americans turned out in numbers never seen. That's really such a good point. We're in the middle of the pandemic and it was such a great turnout. And once every vote is counted, President-elect Biden and vice president-elect Harris will have won a historic and decisive victory. We're fortunate that Joe's got what it takes to be president and already carries himself that way.
Because when he walks into the White House in January, he'll face a series of extraordinary challenges no incoming president ever has a raging pandemic, an unequal economy and justice system, a democracy at risk and a climate in peril. I know he'll do the job with the best interests of every American at heart, whether or not he had their vote. So, I encourage every American to give him a chance and lend him your support.
The election results at every level show that the country remains deeply and bitterly divided. It will be up to not just Joe and Kamala each of us to do our part to reach out beyond our comfort zone, to listen to others, to lower the temperature and find some common ground from which to move forward. All of us remembering that we are one nation under God. Finally, I want to thank everyone who worked organized and volunteered for the Biden campaign.
Every American who got involved in their own way. And everybody who voted for the first time. Your efforts made a difference, enjoy this moment, then stay engaged. I know it can be exhausting but for this democracy to endorse it requires our active citizenship and sustained focus on the issues, not just in an election season. But all the days in between. Our democracy needs all of us more than ever.
And Michelle and I look forward to supporting our next president and first lady. However, we can't. A lovely and characteristically expansive remarks from President Obama. BASH: Yes.
PHILLIP: But that coming from a president who inherited the worst economic recession since the Great Depression says a lot.
PHILLIP: He -- and it's true. We've never had a pandemic like this in 100 years. And the economic fallout has been as significant. So, he understands what that really is like, and it's worse now. Because I don't know that our country was as divided in 2008 as it is now politically.
TAPPER: I didn't feel it, because we had just elected the nation's first black president.
TAPPER: It felt like the nation had come together in a lot of ways.
BASH: I felt that a couple years later in 2010 when everything changed. I just also want to take a moment to talk about the effort that President Obama put in to getting his vice president elected to the presidency. He did it four years ago for Hillary Clinton. In fact, he said, this is personal for me to people in the crowds and it didn't -- it didn't work. This time it did. A lot of reasons for that.
But in in terms of President Obama, starting with the Democratic Convention, he broke all protocols, because he thought that President Trump broke all norms in a very dangerous way. And I say broke protocols. He was so aggressive against President Trump and he continued that on the stump in recent weeks. Yes.
TAPPER: Yes. Imagine if George W. Bush in 2012 --
TAPPER: -- had gone out on the stump. He didn't. And that's normally what presidents do --
TAPPER: Barack Obama did not choose to do that.
PHILLIP: Yes. No, he didn't. And he had no choice. I mean, let's be honest. I mean, he was a part of as much a part of this campaign as Joe Biden was because Donald Trump's presidency began about Barack Obama, and who he was, and Donald Trump's presidency was in large part about the invalidation of the Obama era. And so, this was not just about electing Joe Biden, but about preserving or restoring some of the things that he did as president that had been lost in a Biden -- in a Donald Trump presidency. And -- but I do want to make, you know, refer to one thing that he talks about in his statement, which is the turnout in this election. Not as a political statement, but just as a statement of fact that when you let Americans vote, when you give them ways to vote, they will vote, and they do vote. And Republicans for many years have taken the opposite stance, trying to make it more difficult for people to vote for a number of reasons. They say it's because of fraud.
PHILLIP: But I think when you really talk to them privately, they acknowledge it because they're concerned that there are not enough people who support their views who show up at the polls. And that it is a political strategy about raw power. But I do think that if there's one thing Donald Trump proved in this election; you can turn out Republicans too.
PHILLIP: If you give them a chance to vote. And so, it's time that we as a country, just do this fair and square. Let as many people vote as we can, make it easier for people to vote and they'll show up even Republicans.
TAPPER: By the way, millions of people voted by mail for Donald Trump.
TAPPER: Millions of people voted by mail for Republicans. And as far as we can tell by the exit polls as they stand right now, Donald Trump appears to have increased the black support and Latino support for him from previous Republican presidential candidate, Dana.
BASH: Thanks, Jake. And I want to bring in the House Majority Whip, Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina. Mr. Whip, you endorsed Joe Biden in the South Carolina primary. You gave him life in that process. And now he is the president-elect. Your reaction.
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): I'm very pleased with the results. I'm very aesthetic, about what may be the future this great country of ours. My investment in Joe Biden that everything to do with the restoration of our pursuit towards a more perfect union. I noticed it's not a perfect country. My God, I'm here. I'm living testimony that the country is not perfect. But we cannot give up on the country.
And I could not sit idly by and watch this country take backward steps in that pursuit of perfection. And so, I am pleased that we can now get back on course, we need to restore voting rights to people. We need to restore people's lives and livelihoods. This campaign, and a few other things before demonstrated that Alexis de Tocqueville is admonition that this country is great, not because it is more enlightened than any other nation, but rather because it's always been able to restore or to repair its faults.
So fault lines I've opened up. And if education, in healthcare, even the last four years ago, opened up a fault line. And this was an opportunity for us to repair that. And so that's what I'm happy about.
BASH: You tweeted about Kamala Harris being the vice president-elect and the first woman -- first woman of color to do that, and about what this means for diversity. Can you talk about the emotions that you feel right now?
CLYBURN: I'll tell you (INAUDIBLE) which she was named to the ticket. I'm the father of three daughters. And I have two granddaughters. And to me, this breaks (INAUDIBLE) for them, and all other daughters and granddaughters in the world. So, I was very, very moved about this. Now Joe, and I talked about it several times, when he was trying to make this decision. He -- wouldn't be a woman.
And I don't mind saying now, I said to him in private that I thought that a lot of the results would turn a woman -- that woman be a black woman. I never said that public because I don't think you ought to diminish your candidate. And when you ever tell a candidate what he must do in publicly that diminishes his standing with the public. So, I gave all my advice to him in private. But I'm very pleased that it was a black woman selected it.
I think it submitted his relationship to the black community. And if I may, let me say this about these recent polls about Biden. I mean, I'm sorry about Donald Trump increasing his vote in the black community, especially black men. I think I know how to gauge that stuff. Not just the barbershops. I have a way of living that keeps me in close contact with the black community. And let me tell you something, when you poll, these were exit polls that -- the exit polls will not give you what was going on this year because more than 80 percent of African- Americans in a lot of communities voted before the Election Day.
BASH: Well --
CLYBURN: If you get your information from the exit polls on Election Day, you may not have an accurate universe.
BASH: Well, Mr. Clyburn, just --
CLYBURN: And so that is wrong.
BASH: OK. Just say, you know, and we can talk about this later. Probably not the moment. But the exit polls done we're not just Election Day, it was previous to -- prior to Election Day when early voting started. But let's put that aside right now because I want to follow up on something that you just said. You revealed for the first time that you urged now President-elect Joe Biden to pick a woman of color.
I tried to get you to say that at the time and many others did, you didn't bite. What was his reaction aside from the obvious, which is that he acted on it, but in the -- in the immediate moments after you made that suggestion, what was his reaction?
CLYBURN: Well, he listened. He did not respond to me publicly. And of course -- well, even privately, but of course, about two or three days before he made the announcement (INAUDIBLE) and we concluded, after he said to me, my heart's in one direction, my head is in the other. I said, go somewhere in private and check and you bring in both of them together.
BASH: Which one was his heart, and which one was his head do you think?
CLYBURN: I've never going to tell whatever.
BASH: But you -- but you think you know the answer?
CLYBURN: I don't know the answer yet. Nobody said to me.
BASH: Can you give us anything more about those conversations?
CLYBURN: You can talk them to me (INAUDIBLE)
BASH: OK. Let's look ahead. Well, first of all, let me just ask, have you spoken to President-elect Biden since the news today?
CLYBURN: No, no, I have not spoken with him today. But frankly, I was going about my ordinary business. I was real nervous about -- I was never nervous about Pennsylvania. But because of all the litigation, I've wanted to see us do this, with not having to need Pennsylvania. And I think we still may be there. But I was more nervous about Arizona than any other place. I don't know what the results with them.
BASH: You know how hard it's going to be because you've been in Congress for so long with, you know, either party, both parties in charge of either chamber. What is your best piece of advice for Joe Biden as he not only tries to reach across the aisle, but tries to navigate your caucus, where as you know, based on the call that you had with House Democrats this week, there are a lot of progressives who want their voices heard, but a lot of people who represent moderate districts who want what the leadership of the Democratic Party to listen to them as well.
CLYBURN: Look, he's got a big chance and he need to be respectful of each other. I understand all of us have got Congressional districts that are different from the other Congressional districts. I know a lot of people in the United States Congress that get elected overwhelmingly in their districts that cannot get elected in my district. And there are a lot of districts that cannot get elected him.
And that's what we have to keep in mind. These Congressional districts are different. And therefore, people's (INAUDIBLE) of their political reactions and votes, they're all going to be different. And if you learn anything, about being a member of Congress, be in charge of the vote counted, and see what you have to do in order to reconcile people's backgrounds and experiences of get the vote.
And so, I -- I'm so tired of all of this progressive versus moderate. Let me tell you something if you got time. My father was a very conservative guy. He used to drilling out here that if you make a dollar, son, save a nickel. If you leave the room, turn the lights out, conserve energy, but he was a minister. I never heard him ask us politicians for a conservative offering. He always asked about liberal offering.
So, I learned early that conservatism is good in some instances. Liberalism is good in other instances. Let's see, can we reconcile those things, the sole notion that got to be your way or the highway, that will stop that. Our (INAUDIBLE) is not made up for that kind of people. You know, we got, what 55 African-Americans in our caucus and on the Republican side, they've got one.
CLYBURN: And he's now gone. I don't know if they elected another one. So, we don't have the same makeup on the caucus. And we've got to stop all this foolishness of -- it's got to be my way and we got to put those in the bill, I'm not going to vote for it. Come on. That is -- that's going to be our future. If so, we're going to be back into M&R order and we're going to be stuck in M&R for a long time.
Let's respect each other's backgrounds, each other's Congressional districts, and give people enough room to represent their districts.
BASH: Mr. Clyburn, the House Majority Whip, again, the man who endorsed Joe Biden in the South Carolina Democratic primary at a time where he needed that endorsement and gave him political life and ultimately, the nomination in the presidency. Thank you so much, and congratulations to you, sir.
CLYBURN: Thank you. Well, thanks for having me.
BASH: Thank you.
TAPPER: Without --
BASH: What do you think of that?
TAPPER: Without Majority Whip Clyburn today would not be happening.
TAPPER: Period. I mean, maybe a different Democrat would have won the nomination and then -- and gone on to win or who knows. But Clyburn is responsible for the -- for the Biden presidency.
PHILLIP: And for the folks -- and for the folks at home. He's also the guy who counts the votes in the House of Representatives. So, he knows what he's talking about. And he's someone who now has -- I mean, I shouldn't say now, he is a well-respected democrat and has been for a very long time. But he's in a position where his word and his voice about how Joe Biden navigates the next four years as president navigates the Democratic caucus and the relationship with Republicans is going to carry a lot of weight. And it really matters. I think, Dana, what he said to you at the very end which is that he wants the party to recognize that it is a coalition party that is made out of liberals and more conservative Democrats. And we should be clear, Jim Clyburn is a congressman from South Carolina, he represents a lot of black voters who are many of them, more politically conservative and people think.
So it is a party that is going to be an amalgamation of a lot of different views. And Joe Biden, it's not going to be easy for him to navigate that but he's going to have to both deal with his own party and what we were discussing earlier, reach out to Republicans and figure that all out.
BASH: But he was warning the progressives in the party kind of on behalf of Joe Biden to, you know, not go -- not just go for everything but understand that progress sometimes takes baby steps and sometimes takes compromise.
TAPPER: Yes, look. And this is something that we haven't covered much this week because we've been more focused on who the president is going to be. But there is a lot of -- there's a -- there's a civil war going on within the House Democratic Party right now. The House Democrats lost a lot of seats during this election, even though Joe Biden won. There are a lot of more moderate Democrats.
There are a lot of more -- well, they lost four seats, but they thought they were going to pick up.
BASH: They thought they were going to gain. Yes.
TAPPER: I should have said they lost a lot of races. They thought they were going to gain about 10 or 15 seats and they ended up losing four. A lot of moderate Democrats that were very disappointed. And one of the reasons they were disappointed and we heard this in the conference call that House Democrats had that was leaking in real time and being reported on by our colleague, Manu Raju and others, is there are people like the congresswoman from Virginia and others from more moderate districts complaining that AOC and Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib and other members of the so-called squad and others, progressives who have done a tremendous amount to bring enthusiasm and ideas to the Democratic Party.
But that some of their ideas especially defunding the police and that notion, hurt Democrats. Hurt them in races where the Republicans were able to tie them by the Democrats to socialism to the idea of defending the police. And that is -- that was a little speech. He wasn't even -- he wasn't talking to you.
BASH: No. He wasn't definitely not talking to me.
TAPPER: Right. He was talking to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and AOC and Rashida Tlaib and others.
BASH: Which she said privately on that phone call this week and the fact that he took the chants that we gave him to say it publicly, I thought was very, very telling. PHILLIP: But he's also been saying this for quite some time.
TAPPER: Sure. Of course.
PHILLIP: I remember this summer during the George Floyd protests. He was very clear, defund the police is not a message that Democrats should adopt, or that would work for many Democrats across the country. He was crystal clear about that. And this is a man who was himself involved in the civil rights movement back in the 1960s.
PHILLIP: So he's not just saying that because he's been looking from his ivory tower in Washington. I also think that when Joe Biden said yesterday, when he came out and spoke, that we have a mandate, the -- I -- we were talking about it in the context of a mandate to lead the entire country. But I also think that that he has a mandate to lead the Democratic Party specifically in a particular direction.
He had to navigate a lot of minefields in this general election, including this issue of defund the police, including some of these other tricky issues where he had to be somewhere between not alienating the left and not being seen as overly -- or not alienating, sorry, the suburban part of the country that he was trying to win back. And he did that. And so, that path that he carved out in the general election, they're going to have to figure out a way to turn that into a governing principle that can help him navigate these minefields that he'll face immediately.
TAPPER: He did a skillful job of threading the needle of not alienating the progressives whereas where the energy is in the party and not alienating the suburbs of Philadelphia, where he needed the votes.
PHILLIP: Yes. And where he got -- and where he got the votes.
TAPPER: And got the votes. He did. He did enable job threading the needle. I will also say that if he had been running against a less ham-handed opponent, I mean, Donald Trump would go out there and say, Cory Booker is going to invade your -- I mean, like it was -- it wasn't -- they weren't even dog whistles. They were -- it was bullhorn racist tropes. And like making Cory Booker --
PHILLIP: I don't think --
TAPPER: -- the poster child of it. He's -- Cory Booker is not exactly Willie Horton.
PHILLIP: But President Trump, I mean, look, President Trump got his people out here.
PHILLIP: OK? BASH: Yes.
TAPPER: But it didn't win over the suburban --
PHILLIP: He didn't win over --
TAPPER: That's what I'm saying.
PHILLIP: But his theory of this -- of this election was that if Trump has his own people, and if he brings enough of them out, he can win. He got somewhat close. But obviously, it was not enough. I do think that there is a choice facing Republicans now about what you're saying, which is, you know, is that message a ham-handed message or is it the best we've got?
PHILLIP: I don't know that they -- that they fully settled on what the answer to that is.
BASH: I think if you give truth serum to Republican-elected leaders, most of them, they will say, it's not the best they've got. That it may be the opposite of the best they've got on that. One thing I want to say just going back to the whole, the comments that Mr. Clyburn just made about, you know, progressives and moderates. Now, he doesn't like those terms, and everyone has to just figure out how to -- how to deal together. We know how hard that is going to be.
TAPPER: I don't like those terms.
BASH: We know how hard it's going to be.
TAPPER: I mean, come on.
BASH: I mean, he's -- listen, I mean, you know, you allow him to say what he wants, he does want to try to figure out a way to leave the entire party. But what I want to say is that I got a text earlier today, I believe it was from a very progressive member of Congress who was reminding me as we were talking about black voters and how black voters came out, but also progressive, young voters, people of color in urban centers that that was when we dissect these votes, after this election is over and we can have time to do that that the increase in the voter share for Joe Biden, this member of Congress believes is going to show that that really helped push him into the presidency.
And that those voters and the leaders of those voters, progressive lawmakers are going to have high expectations that their voices be heard. And that's understandable.
PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, there -- look, I -- it is true that Joe Biden cannot -- could not have won the presidency without progressive Democrats who see themselves in the AOCs and the Ilhan Omars of the world.
PHILLIP: And I know that Jim Clyburn also knows that is true, too. But there has to be a negotiation here. I think what those young voters said in this election by coming out for someone who is their polar opposite in a lot of ways that older, white standard bearer of the old guard is that they are willing to engage in the political process because it's affected their lives.
And so, I think on some level, there's maybe a silver lining here which is that if young people came out for Joe Biden, it's because they believe that that they know that there is going to have to be some kind of compromise. It's not because Joe Biden said to them, I'm going to be, you know, the far-left leader that you've always wanted. I'm going to be a contrary to what the President said.
BASH: He is not going to be a Bernie Sanders light. That's just not who Joe Biden has been for his political life.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Let me also say, first of all, the progressives did a ton to win this presidency, as you're saying for Joe Biden.
First of all, Ilhan Omar, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, was door knocking.
PHILLIP: Yes. Yes.
TAPPER: Her seat was safe. She was door knocking to --
PHILLIP: After a tough primary.
TAPPER: After a tough primary.
Her seat was safe. She was door knocking to get people to vote in Minnesota, to get progressives, her people to the polls to vote for Joe Biden so that Minnesota would not be in play as people thought it would be several months ago.
TAPPER: AOC is one of the stars of the Democratic Party.
When I had her on "STATE OF THE UNION" before the election, she was more disciplined and able than almost any politician I had interviewed in the last few months.
PHILLIP: That was --
TAPPER: In terms of her acknowledgment of where she disagreed with Joe Biden on issues, like the Green New Deal, et cetera, and also the fact that Joe Biden was, in her view, the absolute only choice.
So I don't --
BASH: She wanted the privilege of having to worry about --
TAPPER: Yes, exactly, exactly.
PHILLIP: To lobby him.
BASH: Yes, privilege to lobby him.
TAPPER: So nobody should -- nobody should -- oh, look at this huge turnout in Washington, D.C., outside the White House. Just people celebrating Joe Biden's victory.
A lot of relieved people. A lot of happy people. A lot of anti-Trump people. A lot of pro-Biden people. "Biden/Harris, count the votes," you see.
BASH: Luckily, a lot of masks.
TAPPER: And a lot of masks, which is good, although the crowds, according to public health officials, not so good.
TAPPER: But the masks are good.
In any case, what I want to say is nobody should treat the progressives as if they are a pain because they are a vital part of the Democratic coalition, period.
TAPPER: But that said, there's a reckoning going on because some of the things that were said, especially when it comes to defunding the police, there are more moderate Democrats that think that made their coalition, their majority smaller.
And, look -- this is Minneapolis. They are social distancing while celebrating in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
So that's what's going to happen. There's going to be some fighting about this stuff in the Democratic caucus.
And, you know, we just heard some warning shots from Congressman Clyburn just then.
BASH: And just on the -- what you are talking about, about Ilhan Omar, even though she didn't have a real race, that she was knocking on doors.
Pramila Jayapal, co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, she represents Washington. She didn't have a real race. And yet, she is part of an organization -- she has an organization where they go out and they train people to knock on doors in battleground states all over.
That is a very, very vital part of the progressive movement that we were just talking about. That allowed this moment to happen. That fueled this moment.
So Senator Mitt Romney, who ran for president and lost to Barack Obama and Joe Biden in 2012, just tweeted.
"Ann and I extend our congratulations to President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. We know both of them as people of good will and admirable character. We pray that God may bless them in the days and years ahead."
Let's bring in Susan Rice, who was the national security adviser for -- sorry. Didn't mean to surprise you there, Dr. Rice.
First of all, let's get your reaction. You worked with Joe Biden in the Obama/Biden administration. You have been campaigning for him, endorsing him, doing everything you could to get him elected.
Your reaction to this moment.
SUSAN RICE, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm joyous. I am grateful to the American people. I'm thanking God.
And I'm grateful to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for being who they are. They are exactly what our country needs now.
We need competence. We need decency. We need honesty. And we need to come together. And that's what they represent.
I know this is a painful moment for many who wished for a different outcome. I'm living in a household with some of them.
But at this moment, I believe that we have an extraordinary opportunity to move this country forward. To reclaim our leadership in the world.
And to address so many of the fundamental challenges we face from COVID to the economy to education to health care to racial justice and climate change.
And this is the moment we have to do so, and we have to heal in the process.
TAPPER: I want to ask you about your son is a somewhat notable conservative figure in the country. And I want to ask you about his disappointment in a second.
But I do also want to first ask you, if you don't mind, as a black woman, we now have a black woman vice president-elect. It's never happened in the history of this country.
I'm just wondering if you could -- you prefer to talk policy and you prefer to talk politics but -- and national security, but I'm just wondering if you'll indulge me and our viewers.
As a black woman, what does this moment mean to you?
RICE: It's amazing. It's amazing. It brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart.
And my, you know, almost 18-year-old daughter that feels thrilled. I know there are young girls, and I hope young boys all over this country, who see themselves in her and the opportunity for them to be who they want to be.
I could not be more proud of Kamala Harris and all that she represents for all of us. This is -- it's an historic, ground-breaking moment.
TAPPER: It's obviously a very emotional moment for tens of millions of Americans, especially those who, before today, had never seen someone like them, a woman of color represented in a president or vice president.
And we should acknowledge that this is a moment of great joy and celebration as for the --
RICE: Celebration. Celebration.
TAPPER: In terms of the experiment of America and the promise of America, what can happen here.
Joe Biden is expected to give his first speech this evening as president-elect.
You're someone in a household where -- I know you a little bit and I know your family a little bit. And there are Trump supporters in your family and Biden supporters in your family.
What does Joe Biden need to say to start unifying the country?
RICE: Well, I must say, not just for my son but others in my family and universe who have different political views, I am really proud of my son today.
He is an American first, like I am. He believes in this country. And he also wants to see us move forward in unity. As disappointed as he may be, we are family first and always will be.
And this is a moment where we all need to look to the future. And heal. And I believe that's what he believes as well. So we are together today. We're one household. We're one country.
And we've got to remember that just as in a family, in a country, we have so much more in common than that which divides us. And we've got to find that fundamental truth together as to who we are and what we can be.
We can't survive divided. We can only be strong and safe and prosperous if we come together. And this is a moment where, on a very personal level, and on a
national level, even on a global level, we have to recognize and embrace that reality.
TAPPER: The space for celebration, there's some risk to it because President Trump has not conceded. And, obviously, we want to give him time to process the information coming his way fast and furious.
But he's also out there claiming, once again, that he actually won the election. He's making all sorts of false allegations about massive voter fraud. There's no evidence of that anywhere.
How should Vice President -- rather, how should President-Elect Joe Biden deal with this? And do you have concerns about whether or not there will be a peaceful transition of power?
RICE: I think it's hard not to have some degree of concern. But I believe this country is strong and resilient and that our institutions have shown up for this moment.
Jake if you'd ask me a week ago, two weeks ago, you know, when our state and local officials, when our courts, would our people continue to have patience and faith in our process, how confident of that was I. I was confident, but I wasn't super confident.
And today, we can look at all of those and say, my goodness.
And I have to say the media, too. The media played this responsibly.
And so all of our institutions have held.
Now Donald Trump has a choice to make. He can stand up and be part of our democracy, our historic tradition. He can be a responsible leader to hand off power.
I know there are many reasons to doubt that. And I can't say I'm particularly optimistic.
But the best thing he could do for himself, for his party and for our country is to act like a president of the United States now at this late stage. So, I hope he will.
But if he doesn't, quite frankly, the nation, the institutions, the world, we're moving on. There will be a transition. Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States, come January 20th.
And he and Kamala Harris will be prepared to lead a team to govern this country again with competence and integrity.
It's going to be OK. It may be a rough next couple of months if Donald Trump chooses to make it that way. That would be unfortunate for his legacy, unfortunate for the country. But we'll get through this.
And when we come out the other end, it will be a better day and a day when government is finally turned to serve the American people and our many, many needs rather than anybody's personal interests.
TAPPER: Dr. Rice, you were on the short list Joe Biden was considering, asking you to serve as his vice president. Obviously, I'm sure you would be honored to play any role in the Biden/Harris administration.
People have talked about you as a potential secretary of state. Have you had any discussions with anyone in the transition team about a possible role in the administration? Would you be open to it?
RICE: Jake, I'm not going to get into that. This is not about me. This is about the United States of America. It's a day for celebration.
This is a day to lift up Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I will, as I've always said, I will serve in whatever capacity or not that Joe Biden thinks is best.
But that's not the point. The point is today we're turning a page. We're opening a new chapter.
I can't tell you how many messages I've gotten from people around the world, literally, from Nigeria to London to Nairobi to Ottawa. Just joy.
And their message is, my God, thank God, America is back. We're back to being able to be the shining city on a hill that we can look to. That's the message I've been getting.
So, let's celebrate that. And then let's figure out, in the days to come, it will be Joe Biden's decision how he wants to constitute his team.
And I'm going to serve my country and to serve him in any way I can.
TAPPER: Dr. Rice, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today. We appreciate it. Best to every member of your family on this day.
RICE: Thank you, Jake. Good to talk to you.
And it's -- her son, Jake, was a -- is a noted conservative on the campus of Stanford. Was in the news quite a bit for that. And it was -- I liked hearing about the family disagreements.
I have a -- my family is Trump supporters and Biden supporters. And this is not an easy day for the Jakes of the world, speaking of Dr. Rice's Jake.
PHILLIP: The other Jake.
TAPPER: There are -- as we've discussed, there are close to 70 million Americans who wanted a different outcome. PHILLIP: And a lot of families are in that position. I do think that
for those who are open to being reached out to, they will have that outreach.
I think that Joe Biden has made it very clear that he plans to try at least to bring everyone in.
I think back to when President Trump was elected, and he said he would do that, and then he didn't.
TAPPER: No, he never did.
PHILLIP: He never did.
So it's more than words. It's going to be actions. We'll see what comes.
But I do think that there's more of a history for Joe Biden in his actual life of doing that.
I also thought it was notable a Susan Rice said that the world is watching.
I have friends in London, in Beijing, who are literally glued to their televisions watching to see what is happening here in the United States.
Because the United States is obviously the -- supposed to be the leader of the free world. And there have been a lot of questions about whether that is still true.
And what American leadership means for the rest of the world and what it might mean for the rest of the world under a Joe Biden presidency or another four years of Donald Trump.
And I think that you're going to see, in more than just Boris Johnson, speaking up and basically saying we think this is a done deal.
You'll see a lot more of that, I suspect, from other world leaders who have to decide which tact they're going to take.
PHILLIP: In some ways, it may be messier for them to engage in this idea that the election has been undecided when all evidence to the contrary says it has.
BASH: Yes, the world is watching.
She also said the world is moving on, which was a very telling moment.
Especially given the fact that the president's ally across the pond, Boris Johnson, the prime minister of the U.K., was one of the first to publicly congratulate Joe Biden before the president conceded. Meanwhile, let's look at what the next first lady just tweeted out.
She tweeted a photo of her and the president-elect, holding a sign saying Dr. and -- was Vice President Biden lives here.
And she's covering up the "vice" saying he will be a president for all of our families.
I mean, that's a message with not a lot of words but a lot of impact and import.
TAPPER: America's going to get really familiar with Philadelphia accents.
TAPPER: If you weren't sick of mine enough, wait until you hear the soon-to-be first lady of the United States and her Willow Grove inflects. It's going to be interesting.
She's a really kind woman. And I got to interview her. You've interviewed her. She has made military families her cause. And that will continue to be her cause.
She did that when she was the second lady of the United States. She said that she'll do that as the first lady of the United States as well.
Working with military families. Having been a military family. Because of her son, Beau, and other members of her family.
BASH: And there's something else that's going to be really fascinating about Jill Biden. When she was second lady, you both remember, she's a teacher.
And she continued to teach, a professor. She continued to do so while she was second lady.
She said, I think my interview with her, that she would do that when she's first lady, too. She would continue to work.
TAPPER: Dr. B.
BASH: And don't think that that has happened before. Somebody can correct me if I'm wrong.
Obviously, first ladies have a lot to do in their official role. But to work outside that home is not something we've seen before, I believe.
PHILLIP: It was a statement when she did it as second lady. It will be a huge statement if she follows through and does it again.
But there are some ways that you can kind of dovetail both roles, right? And I believe that when she was second lady, the community college pathway was such -- was a big part of the kind of Obama/Biden economic message. And I suspect you'll see a lot of that again, especially as they try
to get their hands around not just the coronavirus but also the economic situation in this country going forward.
BASH: Dr. Biden's aide just texted me. It has not happened before. There's never been a first lady who has kept a job like she intends to do, working in the classroom like when she was second lady.
TAPPER: I do wonder, as we talk about and try to contemplate how President Trump -- not that it matters -- how President Trump is going to eventually turn over the reins of power.
And again, he can concede, he cannot concede. He can behave like a mature adult. He can choose another way.
There's also normally -- and there was for the Obamas and the Trumps, and the Bidens and the Pences, a handover moment.
TAPPER: And I wonder if even if Donald Trump doesn't find it within himself to do that, which I would think, by the way, just further would sully his legacy. But that's up to him.
I wonder if Melania would choose a different path.
I kind of think she would.
BASH: Me, too.
TAPPER: I think first lady, Melania Trump, would take the time to meet with incoming first lady, Dr. Jill Biden.
I can -- I have a much easier time picturing that in my head than picturing it happening with her husband.
BASH: I remember her talking publicly about how humbled she was by Michelle Obama doing that for her when they won the White House.
So I would imagine that she would do the same for her successor.
PHILLIP: Or that she would want to.
BASH: Or that she would want to.
PHILLIP: I'm not sure, you know --
TAPPER: What? That her husband will let her? BASH: She does her own thing.
PHILLIP: I think there's a question about whether that would happen.
BASH: You think logistically?
PHILLIP: From a logistical --
BASH: Oh, logistically. I see what you're saying.
BASH: Speaking of logistics. Never mind that we don't believe that Joe Biden has gotten a phone call, which is tradition, from somebody who has been defeated.
One of the other traditions that we all know about, on Inauguration Day, the departing president leaves a note for the incoming president in the Resolute Desk.
TAPPER: Oh, boy.
BASH: Do you think that's going to happen?
TAPPER: It might be. But if I were Joe Biden, if I were President- Elect Biden, I wouldn't read it.
TAPPER: I wouldn't open the envelope. I mean, I think it would be a lot --
TAPPER: First of all, he hasn't said anything yet. The last communication we have from the president is from about three hours ago, an all caps message that says, "I won this election by a lot."
Which is not true. He didn't win this election. And he didn't win it by a lot.
And also, just -- again, we've come to -- this has become normalized? That's just nuts. That's a crazy thing for somebody to say.
PHILLIP: And it's honestly -- I mean, at this point, it's un-American. When this is done, it's done. If you didn't get enough votes, it's over, and you're supposed to gracefully exit the stage.
TAPPER: Grace is not a big word in his --
PHILLIP: And they're not -- he's not going to do it. But it's going to be, as I said earlier, a transition unlike any other.
I have some questions about what January 20th, 2021, will look like and whether he'll participate in that transition of power.
I remember Barack Obama saying, and even George Bush talking about what that is like to be with the person you're replacing on that day.
And the fact that we do that is a quintessentially American thing. It's the reason we're the greatest democracy in the world.
And I think the American people ought to know whether President Trump is willing to do that.
Yes, it is symbolic. But he would really be, I think, tearing down something that does help the country move forward, if he were to decide and say, I don't think this game was fair, I'm just going to walk off, I think I won.
TAPPER: I think the American people should prepare themselves for the latter.
TAPPER: And set their expectations pretty low when it comes to how President Trump is going to deal with.
I'm not saying you're suggesting otherwise.
But I just think it's pretty clear, based on everything we've seen from President Trump, outgoing President Trump, throughout his career, but especially during his presidency, that he's not willing to put the concerns of the nation ahead of his own ego and his own concerns.
And he is not going to rise to this moment.
Now, should he prove me wrong? Wonderful. It would be great for the country. It would be great for his supporters. It would be great for his legacy.
Let's talk about what we expect to see in January. Because we are in the middle of a pandemic.
Joe Biden has not -- was not -- President-Elect Biden -- I need to get used to that -- was not able to campaign and hold rallies in a normal way because we're in a pandemic.
It's worse now in terms of the spread of the virus than it has been at any point throughout this pandemic.
We just had the worst day ever, 125,000 Americans infected. It was the third day in a row of more than 100,000 infected. The virus is spreading.
Joe Biden will not be able to have a normal inauguration or a normal inaugural ball or any of that. BASH: No. And as you're talking, we just showed some of the cheering
and the elation that is spilling on to the streets, largely masked elation. But it is still happening.
And that kind of gathering is what Joe Biden tried to avoid for almost his entire campaign. He had drive-ins instead of rallies.
And so I'm guessing that, as happy as he is that people are happy he's going to be the next president, that's not something that he's thrilled about and not something he's going to want to see in his Inauguration Day.
TAPPER: Something public health officials throughout the country, Democrats and Republicans, are happy about in terms of President-Elect Biden's new administration is that he's going to attempt to attack the coronavirus pandemic in a way that President Trump has not attempted.
Let's go back Jeff Zeleny, in Wilmington, Delaware, for more news on that front.
Jeff, this is obviously priority list number one for President-Elect Biden.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Jake, it absolutely is.
Amid the celebration we see around the country and here in Wilmington, we're being told one of the first official acts after President-Elect Biden delivers his speech here tonight will be the naming of a Coronavirus Task Force.
We're told that is going to take place on Monday. We're told it's going to be a 12-member task force that will be announced to lay out a plan and really get this back on track.
I'm told it's going to be led by three co-chairs. Including a former surgeon general from the Obama administration era, Dr. Vivek Murthy, as well as a former FDA commissioner, David Kessler, and a current doctorate at Yale University, Marcella Nunez-Smith.
Three co-chairs of this 12-member Coronavirus Task Force to be announced on Monday.
And that will be the beginning of a series of public, I'm told, speeches and announcements and really trying to reconvey to the American people the seriousness of this crisis.
We are going to expect briefings from them, perhaps daily televised briefings, and try and seize that mantle.
Jake, the question here, of course, the Trump administration is still in office. Dr. Anthony Fauci is still a government employee. So unclear how they can sort of meld this together. But at least up until now, I'm told, the Trump administration behind
the scenes, in terms of the branches of government, has been participating with the Biden transition project. We'll see if that goes forward here.
But that certainly underscores the importance of where Joe Biden is placing his priority by making this COVID-19 task force announcement on Monday his first choice.
And, Jake, one other bits of news. I'm told that at this hour, a little more than two hours after the president-elect was projected that he has still not heard from the White House or the president who, of course, as we know, is out golfing, but certainly has his telephone with him. At least at this hour, he has not heard from him.
He has, of course, had phone calls with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, who I'm told held up his phone from a Brooklyn street so Joe Biden could hear all that cheering and elation, at least in Brooklyn -- Jake?
TAPPER: Jeff Zeleny, in Wilmington, Delaware. Thank you so much for that report.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Jake, thanks very much.
They are also getting some tweets from a number of other people.
There's a statement from U.S. president, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, saying, "Rosalyn joins me in congratulating our friends, Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. We're proud of their well-run campaign and look forward to seeing positive change they'll bring to our nation."
You heard the Mitt Romney statement, "Ann and I extend our congratulations to President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. We know both of them as people of goodwill and admirable character. We pray that God may bless them in the days and years ahead."
BASH: You go.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Class acts. Class acts. Showing how it's supposed to be done.
These are the traditions. This is how it's supposed to be done. Be very partisan before the election. Make sure you draw those lines. Be very clear. Don't be personal. Be clear about the issues.
Get on the right team. Fight for your team. Afterwards, shake hands and come together. Because after the election, we've got to move stuff forward.
I just wanted to say, I'm seeing so many people happy about Kamala.
And just a couple of things. One, all these young girls --
DAVID AXELROD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR & CNN HOST, "THE AXE FILES": Yes.
JONES: - posting all these pictures of her all across the country, all around the world.
And then there's some secrets to her success. The Divine Nine, the nine Greek-letter African American organization, fraternities, sororities, they're all thrilled.
Everybody that went to a black college. She went to Howard University. All those people are going nuts.
Pillars in the black community that came together. We've got assets in the black community. We've got folks -- the black church came together behind her.
So young women, the Indian American community thrilled. This is a big deal. Celebrations for generations now just bubbling out.
Yes. I was moved by Susan Rice talking about her daughter.
AXELROD: I remember when it was President Obama, the impact his election had on all these young children who, all of a sudden, felt like they were part of it, like they had that opportunity, that there were no limits.
This is another historic event like that.
COOPER: I'm trying to think. Have you seen sort of crowds like this in the streets? We saw Atlanta, Washington, New York, Chicago, these kinds of images.
Did that happen in 2008?
AXELROD: You know, there were spontaneous events that erupted. Obviously, we had a huge crowd in Grant Park in Chicago.
There was this feeling of elation because of what that election represented.
I think there's a combination here of elation and relief. It does say something about our country, you know, that people rejected divisiveness.
And I think that's -- there's an affection for Joe Biden because he does represent those things that people like to believe, just in terms of character and his approach to people.
They like to believe that's what our country is, that's what our leader should be.
But make no mistake about it. Donald Trump, his political project was based on dividing the country relentlessly and furiously. And it had a tremendous event.