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CNN Live Event/Special
President-Elect Joe Biden Pledges To Unify Nation; Kamala Harris Makes History As First Woman Vice President In The U.S. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired November 08, 2020 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: The refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another is not some mysterious force beyond our control; it's a decision, a choice we make. And if we can decide not to cooperate, then we can decide to cooperate.
And I believe that this is part of the mandate given to us from the American people. They want us to cooperate in their interest. And that's the choice I'll make.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Kamala Harris, by the way, making history in two ways. You have a woman and a woman of color, a woman who is Asian- African American, the child of immigrants. In a way, whether you like her politics or not, as a person, she is absolutely symbolic of the promise of this country to embrace its own diversity.
And speaking tonight, she struck a historic -- she embraced the history and she discussed what she means and why she is here and that she won't -- she may be the first, Don, but she won't be the last.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And that's what she said. She said, "I may be the first but I won't be the last."
There were a lot of women who helped to pave the way for her, both in politics and outside of politics, too many to name. And obviously wearing the white suit for women's suffrage.
LEMON: Yes, for suffragettes. It's a historic moment, whether you're a Democrat or Republican, white, Black, East Asian, whatever you are. This is what this experiment that we call America is about.
And we haven't seen that sort of diversity on a political stage in the last four years. We see a lot of rallies, right. But what happened today on that stage and what happened around the country, really, around the country, was a national rally.
There was an international rally, a worldwide rally, because there were people who were gathering all over the country.
CUOMO: They've been in shock at what they've been seeing in this country. You know, this country is always the symbol of what people can do together.
CUOMO: And they've been looking on in disbelief at how we now represent what seems to be toxifying the rest of the world; you know, this idea of autocracy and jingoism and isolation. If we're still in share mode, I will share this. I can't get as deep in the feels as you can. That's why we're such a good couple.
But I will tell you about something that has bothered me for a while.
Don knows me very well. He is family to me. But I am built for the battle. I can take the heat. If it comes from the president, it is not comfortable but I can take it. I can take the unfair things.
I'll tell you what's been very hard during this period is to see things that I know are fragile attacked by somebody doing it for bad reason.
Trump is not a man of principle. He is unburdened by any conviction of any kind of concept that goes beyond himself. And that is not an insult; it's an observation. And I welcome anybody to prove otherwise.
It has been very hard, as somebody who is blessed with diversity in their life and in their family, friends like Don of every color, stripe and shade and creed, to see people that you care about afraid and questioning their sense of belonging in this country is hard.
And to see people attacking the basic freedoms in this country and taking sides on things that are horrible and ugly and seeing us, for wanting to challenge power as somehow an enemy of their own interests, has been really hard.
And I never imagined what it would be like to be in this country and not just challenging power and they don't like it -- nobody likes us. That's OK. Barack Obama didn't like us. His attorney general didn't like us. They came after journalists more than we had seen in a long time. That's OK.
But what this guy did to undermine institutions, undermine our faith in each other, to have so many of my friends and my family come to me scared about what people were going to do and think now, because the President of the United States was making it OK not just to call me Fredo but slurs against Black people and gay people being pushed around, decades of trying to embrace diversity in this country erased in months, was scary and hard. And I do not -- I cannot say goodbye to that quickly enough.
LEMON: Yes. CUOMO: I don't know how we get to a better place. You and I ask
questions for a living.
CUOMO: But I will tell you what, when I hear you and I feel your pain and whether it's the people on TV or the people I know in my own life, it has killed me that I couldn't be more of a check on power and more a check on the people who are complicit with this president and echoed his message and fanned the flames of his fury.
Because I know the pain that it caused. And I am sorry, I'm sorry that this was such a hard battle and for so long. And I hope that this country recognizes that it was being duped and played by a fraud and a liar and that we can see the virtues in each other and get to a better place.
Because we are literally getting killed right now, not just by what he was saying but what we are saying about ourselves and a virus we're letting take us apart. And it's been hard.
And I have felt for you all along, brother. You know that.
LEMON: Well, I do know that. And the weird thing is that I can talk to you about it and, you know, that weird segment that we had, that people are what are you guys doing between our shows, where we actually talk to our people like we're not on television, is what I think we should all be doing.
And you and I don't always agree. But I know at the bottom you have a good heart. I know our experiences are different. And so I know it's easier sometimes for people who are not part of a marginalized class or a minority or who may not be -- women, you know, because, women, they get it.
CUOMO: Or even know any.
LEMON: Right. So you don't understand what that feels like. Sometimes the -- it feels -- not sometimes, it feels more personal. It feels -- you feel under attack constantly. I'm not doing this for a plug but I am, again, writing a book. And I talk about in the book about being -- you know how when you're in a race?
When I ran track, it was ready, set go. It was set that Black people are always in the set mode. We're always looking around like, what's going to happen?
What's this -- is this discrimination?
Is this bias?
Am I being treated differently?
Am I not being allowed the opportunity?
Whether it's real or not, whether it's happening or not, it's part of your existence because it does happen. And when it does happen, people say, oh, it's not. You're making that up. Or you're not making it up.
And so that's part of the existence of people of color. And I would imagine, with someone who is empathetic, I like to think of myself as someone who is empathetic, that it's also that same way for women, for women who sit in a meeting and come up with an idea. And five minutes later a guy will say the same thing and they get the credit for it.
LEMON: And they get the promotion for it. And especially for women of color.
Yes. Let me tell you what I've learned from doing what I do, from being friends and then working with you, right?
Because we were friends before we shared this space together that we do in prime time. And going through COVID and George Floyd is that nobody -- and Trump, Trumpism.
Nobody's perfect, right?
We all say, we all do things that are dumb sometime. We all have biases. We all come at life with certain -- with a certain lens and a certain perspective and that is OK. But we should be open to learning from each other.
And guess what?
We're all going to say stupid things. We're all going to tick people off. People are going to be mad at us.
But guess what?
Over the last year or so, especially over the last couple of months, even more so, I think of myself as I'm not beyond reproach. I am not beyond criticism. I am no longer offended when people criticize me or have something.
I just say -- I take the good from it. I take the bad from it. It sounds like I'm saying the facts of life. But I do. I take what I can from it and the rest I just leave behind. The moment you sit there and you think, well, "I am Don Lemon on television. How dare you criticize me," is the day that you don't grow, is the day that you don't listen to people.
So if someone says something about me, I wonder, well, why are they saying that about me?
LEMON: If I think it is constructive criticism, I take it and the part that I don't think that pertains to me and pertains more to them, I leave that aside.
And I think more of our leaders, more of our people, who are in positions like us, more people who are in positions of authority should have that same attitude. I've always said, you should be more curious than judgmental.
CUOMO: Like the president-elect said tonight, give each other a chance.
LEMON: Give each other a chance. I think you've had to correct some people who come at you and say, I can't believe that Don Lemon said about me or said to you. And you've defended me. You've said, I think you got it wrong, because whatever Don says or feels, he'll let you know straight.
And if he tells you, you got it wrong, that wasn't his intention, that wasn't my intention. So that's on you. And I appreciate you for doing that.
But I think this is a moment for America. And maybe that is the way forward, Chris, rather than everyone's going to buy in.
LEMON: Everyone should figure out how they are -- what they can do and how they are not beyond reproach and how they can take criticism better and maybe that opens us up.
CUOMO: Absolutely. And also, don't sleep on the effect of not having such a powerful figure with a cadre.
CUOMO: Of people who are complicit around him, echoing B.S. and lies.
CUOMO: And feeding fury. You know who made a very eloquent statement about this tonight?
CUOMO: In humorous fashion, the one and only Dave Chappelle. What great timing for him to be on "SNL."
LEMON: Before you get to "SNL" -- we'll talk about it.
CUOMO: Listen to a part of what he said.
LEMON: All right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVE CHAPPELLE, COMEDIAN: I would implore everybody who is celebrating the day to remember it's good to be a humble winner.
Remember when I was here four years ago?
Remember how bad that felt?
Remember that half the country right now still feels that way. Please remember that.
Remember that, for the first time in the history of America, the life expectancy of white people is dropping because of heroin, because of suicide. All these white people out there that feel that anguish, that pain, they're mad because they think nobody cares. And maybe they don't.
Let me tell you something. I know how that feels. I promise you, I know how that feels.
If you're a police officer, every time you put your uniform on, you feel like you got a target on your back, you're appalled by the ingratitude that people have when you would risk your life to save them, oh, man, believe me.
Believe me, I know how that feels. Everyone knows how that feels.
But here's the difference between me and you. You guys hate each other for that. And I don't hate anybody. I just hate that feeling. That's what I fight through. That's what I suggest you fight through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: He's right. He's right. You know, what he is describing there way more eloquently than I described it.
CUOMO: Or I.
LEMON: He is describing that set feeling where you're always on edge and that you don't hate anybody, you hate that feeling of always having to feel that, you, that other people, that someone may be treating you or looking at you with suspicion. That's what -- that's what that is.
So the other thing I was going say about Dave Chappelle, because part of what I was talking about, remember the whole Dave Chappelle thing, when Dave Chappelle mentioned me in his monologue in the special that he did and everyone thought I was going to be like, oh, Dave Chappelle.
And I said no, no, no. Dave Chappelle is a big platform. I have a big platform. We're two African American men with big platforms and people are paying attention. I have nothing against Dave Chappelle. I welcome the criticism.
No one, regardless of who you are, the President of the United States, the head of a network, the boss, lowly boss, big boss, middle management, it doesn't matter who you are, you are not beyond reproach.
Stop holding grudges. Reach out to people. Open up to people. Try to understand people, as Dave Chappelle was just saying. He is 1,000 percent right.
CUOMO: But also I think there's opportunity in it because the pain is real, the disaffection is real, the frustration, the need, how people feel about their families.
And if you don't let it get distracted with things that make you think there is somebody to blame, who is not to blame, and that there is somebody to hate for how you are, when that's not the solution --
LEMON: Too much energy to hate, Chris. Too much energy.
CUOMO: -- then you have the opportunity to get somewhere else with people like that. Look, you're going to have your bigots. You're going to have bad people. There are bad people.
I used to get kicked out of kindergarten. It took me three cycles of kids.
CUOMO: Because they'd be like there are no bad people.
There are bad people.
What are you teaching these kids?
There are bad people. There are bad kids. There are people who do bad things for bad reasons.
CUOMO: But there are a lot more people who buy into beauty than badness.
LEMON: Let me tell you this. You know the bad people -- and this goes back to our earlier conversation, when we were talking about people who certain -- not everyone but people who support a certain kind of person, who supports this president, it's enablers of bad people.
The people you say -- for bad people -- for good men to do nothing, for good people to do nothing. The enablers are bad people. That's sometimes -- that's sometimes a bigger issue than the bad people, because --
CUOMO: If you heard me say anything like what he said, you'd slap me right in the face.
CUOMO: If you heard me saying the kind of things this president said when we were together, you would slap me right in the face.
LEMON: I would be screaming in your face.
CUOMO: -- stood by and started to say these things we've never heard before, Don.
[01:15:00] CUOMO: Never heard in our society where somebody said that was clearly bigoted and they'd say, "That's his style. I wouldn't have said it that way. You do it your way. He'd do it that way."
I heard Santorum doing it just tonight. Look, I respect his right to have his opinion and I respect what he has done for constituents in the past. But the idea of hearing Donald Trump say without basis that this is a fraudulent election and he says "he has his way of saying it," that kind of B.S. has no place in a vibrant democracy.
CUOMO: Anybody who has to check themselves as anybody who blame Trump.
LEMON: So I was talking to Clyburn and you said if you said anything like that, I'd be in your face. I would be in your face and Christina would be trying to push us apart because I'd be saying, I can't believe you said some you-know-what like that.
What is wrong with you, right?
CUOMO: I'd probably start crying because I couldn't believe I said something like that.
LEMON: But imagine that's us in person. Imagine having to sit on a television set and try to keep your position and knowing that what someone is saying is B.S. and they're trying to basically tell you that your existence is not -- you shouldn't.
So imagine that angst that, every time I go in front of this camera and I have to talk to a Trump supporter, who is on a level like that with that, it is -- I can't even explain that feeling and the hurdles, the mental hurdles that I have to jump through, and the physical hurdles, what that does to my body and my soul.
CUOMO: You to take us to break. Let me tell you something objectively. You and I are always critics of each other's work. You have been better during this period than I've ever seen you before. And that is because quality people are at their best in crisis.
And you will be remembered for doing your job the right way for the right reasons. And as your friend, I will be proud to see you remembered that way. Take us to break before I cry.
LEMON: Cry us off. Cry us off, Chris Cuomo.
CUOMO: You first.
LEMON: Chris, thank you. I love you. Seriously. There is nothing to say. But listen, I appreciate it.
And these are the conversations that we should all be having at home, at work, whatever. But this is about the bigger picture tonight, about the president-elect, the vice president-elect and where our country goes to next. And we got a lot of people to talk about.
You guys ready to talk?
I got a whole group here who is ready to talk.
CUOMO: I'm alone.
LEMON: We'll be back.
CUOMO: All right. We see the headline. Joe Biden is our president- elect. Kamala Harris will be the vice president of these United States.
How did we get here exactly?
We haven't been watching the map very much today since the big call. Here I am with the magic man himself, Phil Mattingly.
Thank you for guiding us through these difficult days.
What happened and where are we right now?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Scale of one to 10, how much have you missed me in the show up to this point.
CUOMO: Always an 11.
MATTINGLY: It's got to be an 11.
MATTINGLY: We've known what the pathway was for Joe Biden, no matter what, right?
Went back to the Midwest, see if you can pick up any of the southeastern states. One of the things I think is most interesting, you've always pointed out this entire week, when you come over here, you've been looking at the popular vote. And you look at this margin that is only continuing to grow.
Now 4.16, 4.17 million votes Joe Biden is ahead right now. More votes than any presidential candidate has ever gotten. We had some razor thin margins here. Take a look at Pennsylvania where it sits right now. Joe Biden now 37,000 votes ahead. Right now what I have pulled up here are the counties that he has
flipped. And I think one of the interesting things, as we continue to go through, is he flipped these states. But unlike what President Trump did in 2016, it wasn't that he was flipping a huge number of counties. Instead, he was keeping President Trump's margins down and he was bringing his margins up.
Georgia, Joe Biden about 2,000 ahead, 9,000 votes. Didn't flip a single county in the state but he got his people, he got his Democrats, he got African Americans, he got people in the suburbs to turn out in a huge manner.
What about the state of Arizona?
Haven't called that yet. It's still outstanding.
CUOMO: Still going down.
MATTINGLY: His lead is still going down. But keep an eye on it. In terms of where it's going right now, he'll feel like he will probably end up there. It will close out but I have to mention Maricopa County. I can't not mention Maricopa County; that would be the one flip there.
But Maricopa, if he flips it, suburban voters. Latino voters to some degree. Higher educated voters. They knew their coalition. They knew what they needed.
I think the difference between Joe Biden and maybe some of the other Democrats he is running against is he knew very, very clearly that was the main pathway. These were bonuses. I think the biggest thing right now is he's got a chance of picking up all five.
CUOMO: Harry Enten.
HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: One of the things I think is so interesting in the states that Phil went through is Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania; the House Democrats are running in all of those states. The Republican candidates for House cumulatively, I can't get the word out, the Democratic candidates ran behind the Republican candidates.
Joe Biden won in those states with the House Democratic candidates on the haul, their votes were less than the Republican House candidates, which to me is a clear indication that maybe Joe Biden won in these states where another Democrat running statewide might not have been able to do so, whether it be an Elizabeth Warren or a Bernie Sanders.
CUOMO: Or is it that the renunciation effect of Trump was so strong that, once you check that box, I can't be for this guy anymore, that you were more selective on the down ballot races?
ENTEN: You know, right now, Phil is zoomed in on Nebraska's second congressional district. That's another contest that flipped. You see Joe Biden leading there by 5.5 points, I believe. I'm seeing through the monitor right now.
[01:25:00] ENTEN: There was a Democrat running for the House, Kara Eastman, who ran considerably to the Left of Joe Biden, ran on Medicare for all. Look at the margin Joe has. Look at that.
MATTINGLY: Losing by almost 5 points. And Biden is winning this.
CUOMO: I think there is a message for his party in here. Look, you guys both know this. I think this won't sound that crazy to that many of you at home.
This is a center than Left or Right country. This fascination with the fringe is largely an Internet effect. It's magnified on the Internet.
And given -- remember the big study that was done by Harvard about midway through the election, where they said "Twitter is not America." That literally 85 percent of people polled said they were center left or right. The Democratic Party does have an issue with its own, what they call the progressive wing. And they did not do well with American people.
MATTINGLY: I think kind of jumping off that a little bit is we keep going back to Pennsylvania, because this is kind of representative of Joe Biden's campaign. It's where he started the campaign. It's where he ended the campaign.
The reason why he won lines up with what you're saying right now. He flipped Erie. He flipped Northampton down here. But what he did more than anything else is in the areas where President Trump had blowout turnout in 2016, just like where Democrats could never even imagine that many Republicans could come out, even in Republican strongholds.
Joe Biden kept the margins down by two or three-point, county after county after county after county. I think to Harry's point, both in comparison to House races but also what we've been watching, tell me what other Democrat in the primary field would have been able to do. I don't know that there is an answer.
CUOMO: Last word, Harry Enten.
ENTEN: They had no interest. Joe Biden always said, I'm going make this play to the center, knowing full well I'm probably not going get most of these voters. But even if I get just a few, that's going to be good enough.
If you look in a state like Pennsylvania or the commonwealth, it's under a point, that play to the center I think ultimately may have made the difference and made him the president-elect instead of another candidate defeated by Donald Trump.
CUOMO: I got to go to break.
But I do want you at home to know this. Most of you could probably do what I do as well or better than I do. It's not that tough a job, especially in situations like this. Basically, you just have to stay awake.
Phil and Harry are examples of journalism in situations like this at its most difficult, its most sophisticated and its best. They not only work their asses off but the data, the processing, the selectivity and the integrity of that process, when you get it right, that's about math.
When you understand why it's right, that's journalism.
You blew me away how you handled the wall, the technology is the least of it.
And Harry, there is nobody that we work with here who does the job more intensely for the right reasons than you do.
Both of you are a gift to the audience.
As a journalist who has been doing this longer than they've been alive, this is as good as it gets.
I hope you both appreciate what you meant in this moment.
We're going to take a break. We're going to keep covering where this country could be heading, because there are a lot of unknowns. Stay with CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I sought this office to restore the soul of America, to rebuild the backbone of this nation, the middle class, and to make America respected around the world again --
BIDEN: -- and to unite us here at home. It's the honor of my lifetime, that so many millions of Americans have voted for that vision. And now the work of making that vision is real.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Let's discuss now. Big night for America. John Avlon, S.E. Cupp, Nia- Malika Henderson. Hello, one and all.
So what happened today in America?
(CROSSTALK) JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, this is a day to savor. This is from the celebrations that have been breaking out across the country, from New York, I realize Biden finally won when people started clacking pots and pans outside their windows and the celebrations and the car honking.
This is one of the moments, using Biden was favorite poems, where hope and history run. And I think you're feeling a deep sense that our democracy that has risen up in unprecedented numbers and really shown how strong it is.
LEMON: I want to talk about the diversity that we have seen across the country. Listen, whether you supported the president or not, you had to -- you see the pictures. These are young people, old people, all different ethnicities, either out there today celebrating or at the acceptance speech tonight in Delaware.
S.E. CUPP, CNN HOST: It was a really welcome, refreshing, uplifting, optimistic sight. And, you know, I experienced today from sort of two different perspectives, the first as a Republican who voted for Biden.
And let me tell you, it has not been easy to be a never-Trumper over the past four years. It's not always been comfortable. It's been lonely.
But I never bought into the need to make America great. I voted for Joe Biden to make America good again. And I think today our vote was not in vain. And that felt really good.
The other way I experienced today was as a woman.
And, Don, you and have I talked about this before. The greatest indignity of the past four years for women is not just that men are running the country; these men are running the country.
And so to see a woman elected to go into the White House was really something.
And I'll just end by sharing a personal anecdote. I never talk about politics with my kid because he is 5 and he has a life.
CUPP: Also, I just don't want -- why would I foist this upon him?
But it was big day. I was obviously watching TV and he comes in and he sees Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on the screen.
He says, "What's happening, Mom?"
And I said, "Well, those two people were just chosen today to lead the country."
And he goes, "That's a woman.
"Could you lead the country, Mom?" And to say that I got emotional is an understatement. But when we talk about the need to see people like us represented in politics, in positions of power, in popular culture, it is that simple as to why. It is childlike as to why.
CUPP: Because it matters to see yourself depicted back, reflected back. And in that moment, my son became a man who believes that women can do anything. And that was a very positive experience for me.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, I agree. All day hearing from friends and family about what this moment meant to them, my wife texting me as she was watching Kamala Harris, saying, wow, not only is Kamala Harris the vice president-elect; she acknowledged Black women in her speech, shouted them out in her speech and talked about Black women, the troubles and travails of Black women and the ways in which they've been the backbone of the country.
To have that moment was really quite meaningful. My friend, who is Puerto Rican; his mom is 82 years old, lives in South Carolina, voted for the first time in a presidential election this year and was crying when the announcement came.
And she felt like finally. This was a country that could she feel included in and that she voted for this president who was going to turn the world right side up again. So, so many emotions today seeing the outpouring of emotion of other people, because I think, over these last four years, there has been so much anxiety, stress and fear and pain, particularly from marginalized communities, women, people of color, gay folks like you and me, Don.
And to just have this release today, that things will be different and we don't have to wake up every day and see what Trump is tweeting, see what Republicans are excusing Trump from tweeting --
LEMON: It's like you become used to it. It's normalized, right?
And all of a sudden you realize, it doesn't have to be this way, there is, like I said earlier, there is this release valve. Wait a minute.
CUPP: Exactly right.
LEMON: This doesn't have to be this way. And I have to say doubly so, we're talking about diversity and minorities.
But for women, for you to acknowledge what you just said, I thought that was beautiful, because your son may have grown up if this would continue.
What is he, 5, 6?
LEMON: Not ever seeing what he saw today. And just the mere presence.
CUPP: And he doesn't know what he saw, right?
He doesn't know. I don't talk to him about feminism or -- he's 5. He cares about "Paw Patrol." But what he saw was a woman could do anything. And he got that.
LEMON: S.E., as a Republican woman, a conservative woman and you see what's happened over the last few years with Trumpism, do you have any idea where this goes?
What -- have I some idea what the folks at home who are seeing because it shows up on my timeline, people who have found my contact information, you know. It doesn't just go away.
Is that wishful thinking to say that the madness and the craziness is going to go away from that group of people?
Because I don't think it's reflective of all conservatives but it's certainly taken over the party.
CUPP: Yes, listen. I think there is -- we've seen two schools of thought right now emerging. And this is the mess that Joe Biden will inherit. There are people who want to unite enough to get him elected, right, and really want to come together.
And then there are folks who really don't have that interest at all. Those folks are on the Right. A lot of Trump supporters who have no interest in understanding one another.
They're also on the Left. A lot of folks who say, Trump supporters, eff you and good riddance and I'm going to step over your bodies on the way out. I think that attitude gets us three more Trumps at some point.
We've got to figure out with a way to not excuse racism and bigotry disguised as economic insecurity; to not excuse it but to understand why we got here.
LEMON: I got to get to the break, because I'm getting clobbered. Quick if you can.
AVLON: Biden's entire campaign core message was about this: question people's judgment, not their motives. I'm a Democrat but I'll be an American president. That I think ultimately is why you saw this turnout. We had a choice on this election between unity and division. And that's why the relief.
LEMON: Chris and have I been talking about.
How do you do it?
That's a mandate, if you want to call it, for the Biden-Harris administration but also, they've got to have people buy into it.
How do you achieve that? We don't know. But we're going to try to continue to figure it out. We'll be right back.
CUOMO: "Now is when the hard work begins," said our vice president- elect, Kamala Harris at her victory speech in Delaware. She and President-Elect Biden will have major issues to tackle right away. COVID, full stop. Everything flows from that.
The economy, our culture, our health care, our kids, everything is caught up in how we handle and have not handled COVID.
So where do we go and how do we get there?
Scott Jennings, Ana Navarro, Mitch Landrieu. First thing, if we're going to get anywhere, we need to get from one administration to the next.
Scott, best sense of whether or not this president will come to his senses and do what the moment demands.
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think eventually the circumstances and the facts will catch up with him. I was thinking today about what Rick Santorum said earlier on CNN, that he was willing to concede but under certain conditions.
And I mean, there are no conditions. The conditions are, if you don't get enough votes, you lose and then if you don't the leave the office, the office goes away from you.
JENNINGS: We talk a lot about the term "pleasure of the president" when we're discussing presidents. Presidents are at the pleasure of the people and as manifested through the Constitution and our laws.
And my hope, my fervent hope, is he concedes graciously. We have a peaceful transition. Look, if he wants to remain a force in the Republican Party, he can do that. By the way, if I were him, I would go to Georgia and fight like hell to stick one to Chuck Schumer on the way out the door. And that's fine. He can continue to participate in our politics.
But his duty and his responsibility is to honor the tradition of this office. And I don't know what he is going to do, Chris, but my sincerest hope for him, for his family and for the country is that he does it.
CUOMO: Ana, Senora hermosa baila loca, I've seen you all over the Internet moving around to the music and the moment.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN COMMENTATOR: I cannot stop singing.
What matters most, what?
CUOMO: Most and first?
NAVARRO: COVID. I think what matters most and first is dealing with COVID. As you said, it is the first litmus test. I think so many Americans have been frustrated by a president who does not lean into science but calls it a hoax and has been underestimating it from day one and trying to whitewash it.
NAVARRO: So that is their first test, the first real test. And then I think it's going to be, really in every step they take, every decision they make, every appointment they make is going to be about being an inclusive administration, representative of the whole country, trying to heal these horrible wounds that we have incurred in the last four years and trying, you know -- and keeping up this optimism.
What you saw today erupting in the streets was people daring to hope again, people who have steeled themselves against feeling and, I guess, having emotions and have been fighting and have been feeling oppressed and have been feeling targeted and harassed and marginalized and unrepresented and unseen and attacked for four years.
That's what you saw today erupting all over the streets, all over America. And if, you know, if the projections on TV don't send a message to Donald Trump, certainly seeing what's going on in the streets of America definitely should.
CUOMO: Mitch, what's the best chance Biden has for success?
MITCH LANDRIEU, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think he showed it tonight. I completely agree. You saw joy in the street. Pope Francis said that joy is not just an emotion; it's a gift.
And I think all of us the country felt a sense of joy, relief and hope. And then when the president-elect came out tonight, he actually spoke right to this issue. He talked about diversity as a strength, not a weakness.
We talked about everybody coming to the table of democracy as equals and having reached out in open arms, not just to the folks who are Democrats but he said he is going to be an American president.
So there are things that have to be done and then there are ways to do it. I think he demonstrated the way that he is going to do it and the specific things he is going to do.
Obviously COVID is the first on the list. I know we've been thinking about the campaign for the last several days. But hundreds of thousands of Americans have been infected with COVID while we have been going through this excruciating exercise of counting votes. And we have got to get a handle on that.
But the way we do that and who he chooses to do it with and whether he chooses to include the rest of the country is really going to dictate how we, as a country, are able to move forward.
And the conversation you and Don had a couple of breaks about reconciliation, understanding, this is all of our country, that really is going to be the pathway forward. I expect President Trump to continue to do what he has always done. I don't expect him to concede. The Constitution doesn't require him to.
As somebody said today, it only requires 270 electoral votes, which is what happened. And this transition is going to move on with him or without him. The country would be better if he would gracefully move aside.
I've had nine elections I've lost to. Conceding is really hard. But you pick up the phone, you say, listen, you did a great job. I lost. And you get up and go to work the next day. That's the way we do it in America. I'm hoping we do it with President Trump as well.
CUOMO: I got to jump. Thank you for speaking sensibly. Remember, you guys matter. You're going to be as important a part of the echo effect of this administration and how it's perceived by people all over the country. Big job. I look forward to seeing how you do it.
We're going to take a break. When we come back, more on the moment and how it stands in the context of presidential history. One of the greats, Douglas Brinkley, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: And now together, on eagles' wings, we embark on the work that God and history have called upon us to do, with full hearts and steady hands, with faith in America and in each other, with love of country, a thirst for justice.
Let us be the nation that we know we can be, a nation united, a nation strengthened, a nation healed, the United States of America.
Ladies and gentlemen, there has never, never been anything we've tried and not been able to do.
So remember, as my grandpop, our Grandpoppy said, when I walked out of his home when I was a kid up in Scranton, he said "Joey, keep the faith." And our grandmother, when she was alive, she yelled, "No, Joey, spread
Spread the faith. God love you all. May God bless America and may God protect our troops. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: How will that message from President-Elect Joe Biden be remembered?
No candidate in history has ever received as many votes as he did and we don't even know what the total number will be yet, maybe 75 million. Who knows?
Let's get some perspective from a true historian par excellence, Douglas Brinkley.
Good to see you, sir.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Good to see you, Chris.
CUOMO: So this election, what do you think are the historical high points?
BRINKLEY: You know, Barack Obama once said about Joe Biden, he is like a basketball player that does bunches of things right but it doesn't show up in the statistics. And in 2020, we saw that to be true.
I mean, many people wondering, what's Joe Biden doing?
He is staying in Delaware. He is not going and using social media in a rabid way. He is not hopscotching around the country.
But Biden knew himself and he knew the tone and tenor of the country. And he adopted that "whole, the soul of America" notion. And he's really an archetype of America. It's like a Bruce Springsteen song from "The River" or John Updike novel about Rabbit, this blue-collar, working class mid-Atlantic character.
And I think the public is falling in love with him right now, like they did with Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He is becoming a folk icon at this point in his life because he is bringing back a quiet dignity and a sense of reconciliation that everybody's hungering for.
CUOMO: How will the moment be remembered in the context of him getting the most votes we've ever seen?
CUOMO: And close second, really not. It's pretty much a spanking. It's 5 million plus vote. But having more people ever coming out for him but second on the list of most votes ever will be Donald Trump in this election.
BRINKLEY: It's the triumph of Barack Obama, "Don't boo, vote." It's the triumph of Stacey Abrams. It's about voter registration. There are all sorts of groups and companies, corporations around America, that said vote, vote, vote.
And it makes everybody feel good to see this kind of active participation. And so it will be remembered for that.
But also, Joe Biden chose the mask over the nonmask at the COVID-19 crisis. He chose scientists and believing that we had a problem with climate change, that he was somebody who kind of was rational in a year that seemed deeply scary and irrational.
And so Joe Biden is off to a great start. And the fact that he chose Kamala Harris, who criticized him -- remember that great moment when Kamala Harris said, "That little girl was me."
Well, Biden looked at her and nodded and he knew she got him. And then he picks her as his vice president.
There she is tonight, wearing white, honoring the suffragettes. This will be remembered as first woman entering the White House on the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote.
CUOMO: Ohh, great historical context as always. Brother Brinkley, thank you for being with us.
BRINKLEY: Thank you, man.
CUOMO: D. Lemon, I'm glad that people see you and I as an examine (sic) of a conversation more people should have. I tell you what, if people are wrestling with the kinds of differences we do, we'd be in a lot better shape than we are in this country right now. But I love you and thank you for being your best self for our audience every night.
LEMON: That goes double for you. It's a pleasure every night to be with you and to have this platform to not only share our friendship but what we do together for work.
CUOMO: Jim Sciutto, Poppy Harlow, they pick up our coverage of history in the making, next.