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CNN Live Event/Special
President Joe Biden Inaugural Parade; President Biden Arrives at White House. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired January 20, 2021 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right, Brianna, well let's listen into the parade.
(LIVE VIDEO MARCHING BAND, BIDEN INAUGURAL PARADE)
TAPPER: I'm standing here, you can see we're right across the street from the White House. This is Lafayette Square which you might remember from the unfortunate events over the summer. Behind that is the reviewing stand where dignitaries are watching the parade.
And then of course behind that is the White House itself. We're seeing some of the inaugural parade go by right now. You can hear the fife and drum brigade. Jim Sciutto is also out there. Jim, tell us what you're seeing.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: The motorcade is just about to turn the corner. The fife and drum unit just passed us here. I mean they're wearing the uniforms worn by musicians in George Washington's army. It's all about history here today, with each -- each of the members of this procession.
Ahead, though, we should note, and you're going to see that coming into your screen now, of the president's motorcade is the -- well, there's the motorcade there, but just ahead of them is the University of Delaware marching band as well. But this is the president's motorcade taking the turn off 15th Street to Pennsylvania Avenue for his arrival at the White House.
TAPPER: The University of Delaware marching band obviously an homage to the president from Delaware. Kate Bennett is also out there. Kate, I believe President Biden is right near you?
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: He is. He just turned the corner right in front of us. The beast stopped right in front of us. The 46 on the license plate on the back of the vehicle. We could see the president and the first lady in the car. We could see their profiles.
They stopped for a minute before they turned. The other vehicles here will contain the family, contain the vice president and the second gentleman. Right now President Biden's car, as you can see the beast is surrounded by Secret Service agents.
There's some discussion earlier as to whether he would get out of the vehicle and do a traditional walk outside of the vehicle. Obviously with security concerns and COVID precautions, sources were telling me this was a back-and-forth decision all day. We're still not sure whether or not he will get out -- guys.
TAPPER: Yes, I remember it was a big decision when President Obama back in 2009 got out and walked for a length of the procession because of security concerns. There were a lot of Secret Service agents and officials cautioning him not to do that, but he wanted to do that.
There were obviously threats assessed at that time and there are threats being assessed today. We are still standing here, though, and you can see the actual physical parade now as opposed to the virtual parade that we're going to bring you has passed by here. Brianna Keilar is out there. Brianna, what are you seeing where you are?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Hi there, Jake. Well we are just seeing the president's motorcade about to approach. They appear to be in a bit of a holding pattern right now but what I can also tell you off camera is that the University of Delaware drumline is keeping time. So we're waiting to see if there's some sort of kind of grand entrance because this is really it. This could be the big moment that obviously we are going to see in this inauguration that is very much unlike any other inaugural parade that we have seen.
So at this point in time, as the band is keeping time, we're seeing the president's motorcade pausing here right in front of the Treasury building, which is this building adjacent to the White House.
And so we have this contingent of police officers and motorcycles. I thought I heard a little something. I thought I heard that they were revving up and coming ready to go, but they right now appear to be paused. We can see the press pool on a truck trying to get a shot of the president and the vice president in their motorcade. And we're just waiting really to see what happens next -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Brianna, let's go to Jim Sciutto who's also out there. And Jim, obviously it's unusual, parade with very few spectators in person, although, of course, tens of millions of people watching around the world.
SCIUTTO: No question. I mean a shame to some degree. The military can certainly put on a good show and they're doing one here with purpose, right? So much symbolism here that's important about a peaceful transfer of power, a new commander in chief.
That symbolism important, and I think we should remember the many concentric circles of security that now surround this very spot where you see the president's motorcade and the White House for real operational function from the U.S. military to make this moment not only historic and traditional but safe. You're hearing me now, what you're hearing in the background there,
that's the University of Delaware marching band making its way now in front of the White House leading the president.
TAPPER: I believe both the University of Delaware and Howard University are participating in this parade as nods to both the president and the vice president. Kate Bennett, tell us what you're seeing out there.
BENNETT: The motorcade is still paused. It's still been stopped here. It's slowly rolling forward now. We heard those drums pick up. The motorcade is now moving. The president's car with the new 46 license plates on the back is rolling forward very slowly at about a walking pace, making its way towards the east side of the White House eventually.
Let's see what Brianna is seeing now, you're closer -- Bri.
KEILAR: Yes, so right now we're seeing the police, everything is starting to move a little bit here. As you can see, the beast is starting to creep forward and the motorcycle police, this contingent of motorcycle police that is preceding it is moving forward.
Right now there is, as I suspected, that kind of grand entrance using the University of Delaware drumline which you can hear off in the distance. Really hard not to tap your foot to that.
So this is, it appears, what is preceding President Biden. And we are just awaiting right now as we see the beast on the move. We are waiting to see if we are perhaps going to get a glimpse of the president.
We're starting to see some movement when it comes to the police cars in front of the president's motorcade and obviously you can see the Secret Service there standing at the ready. I will also tell you that on either side in the shot you're seeing is from -- or you can see shots off of -- camera shots coming off of two trucks that are tracking. This is the press pool that is tracking President Biden.
TAPPER: Yes, it is a shame. I remember four years ago when President Trump and first lady Melania Trump and their son, Barron, got out and walked for a stretch. But because of COVID and because of the security concerns, obviously as of at least right now the decision has been made to not have President Biden walk but perhaps that will change.
There doesn't really seem to be anybody on the street other than law enforcement or Secret Service agents. But it is obviously a huge departure from previous inaugurations that probably everybody watching can recall where the president would get out and wave to the crowd. There is no crowd because of security concerns. The president being cautioned not to leave the beast, which is what they call the presidential limousine, which you see right there. Not really a limousine, presidential vehicle.
Here we go. There we go. President Biden walking out, getting out of the beast at the end of the inaugural parade. I'm sure first lady Biden, Jill Biden will be walking out on the other side as well. There she is. And they are in a part of the city right near the White House, right near the Treasury building.
This entire area has been cordoned off from spectators, from anybody really except for law enforcement and people who are working within the so-called green zone. Here we will watch President and first lady Biden walk into the White House with their family. This will be their new home, of course. When he was vice president, he lived at the Naval Observatory a couple of miles away on Massachusetts Avenue. Let's listen in.
UNKNOWN: Good job.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you
UNKNOWN: Mr. President, Mr. President, we have a question for you. Come over.
TAPPER: The President and first lady Biden and their family. Brianna Keilar is there -- Brianna.
KEILAR: They're actually walk in -- President Biden right now come past our camera location with his -- hold on one second -- Jake.
Can you unite the country, Mr. President?
All right. So just -- the president, Jake, coming over to give one member of the press a fist bump saying keep doing what you're doing. We have some questions for him, obviously he is not answering them.
Certainly, he must think there's plenty of time to do that, this being, of course, the one moment of really getting out and being seen and playing not to an audience in person, Jake, but to the cameras that are here.
And he is flanked, of course, by service members from the five branches. And this is a very different scene. I'm struck by being here, you know, four years ago and looking across the street and seeing -- you get to witness the first family as they partake in this procession, as we watch it after it comes through after them. And this is obviously a very different scene, but also a very important moment where the president and the vice president are seen. Where they are seen on this parade route before the country in this important moment, a signifier of this transition of power.
TAPPER: Jim Sciutto, tell us what you're seeing along the parade route.
SCIUTTO: Jake, you can see him there coming over. He just ran over to the side here.
Mr. President, can you unite the country?
It's quite a moment, Jake. Because this is something, we did not know we would see today, given the security concerns.
BIDEN: Thank you.
SCIUTTO: We saw Mayor Bowser there as well.
TAPPER: Yes, he just ran over to Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser and said hello to her.
SCIUTTO: I think it's worth mentioning, Jake, emphasizing we did not know for certain we would see the president and the vice president, their extended family have this moment outside, given the security concerns, and they have done it.
Granted in the last couple hundred yards of their walk to the White House, but an important one. You can see him, I think, reveling in this moment. Taking chances to come to the side here to see the limited crowd that is allowed to be here. Frankly, a lot of them government officials and journalists but taking that moment here to interact as he walks these final steps to the White House.
UNKNOWN: Love you.
TAPPER: Yes, it's a pretty secure area this last block or two in front of the Treasury building and the White House. Let me just see if the camera is on me, I'll try to explain where they are. Obviously, there's a truck with cameras on it, that's why we're able to see such close shots of the new first family.
And then you can see they're walking right over there. You can see the first family over there. And I believe they're going to take a turn and walk onto the White House grounds. There they go.
UNKNOWN: Mr. President! How are you?
TAPPER: Kaitlan, let's go to -- Kaitlan, I don't know if you're ready, but the president is coming to you.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I was born ready. He is now entering the White House grounds, Jake. This is the first time that Joe Biden has actually made it over here since he won the presidency, given that President Trump broke tradition and did not invite him here like typically you would.
And so now here he is walking down the north lawn of the White House for the first time since he won the presidency with his family. Of course here's the beast coming right behind me, Jake. I'm going to step back so you can see it.
This something we don't often see the beast coming down this part of the driveway. And there of course is the president and the new first lady walking down into the White House for the first time since being sworn in. But also the first time in four years. This is their first time back on these grounds. Of course there is a band, there are flags, there are press all around him.
It looks like he's taking a moment to wave to those on the parade route one final time. And then, Jake, he is going into the residence of the White House and then shortly he is going to be in the West Wing. And reporters are going to go back. He has got a lot of executive orders he wants to sign. The first thing that we are told is on his agenda is dismantling a lot that Donald Trump has done over the last four years.
TAPPER: That's right. Rejoining the Paris Climate Accords, getting rid of the ban on travel from those predominantly Muslim countries, though not exclusively, and here it is. The President and first lady Biden walking onto the White House grounds.
As you noted, Kaitlan, normally this would not be his first time on the White House grounds in the last month, but because President Trump decided whatever, to put his feelings above that of what the country needs, he did not invite the Bidens. Neither did first lady Melania Trump. And at the end of the day it doesn't matter. They're still moving in.
COLLINS: And Jake, one thing we should note that is waiting for him is that letter we are told by sources that President Trump wrote for Joe Biden. You know, they did not have their chance to speak, but he did follow that one tradition we're not really sure why. We know that he loved the letter that President Obama left for him when he took office. He often showed it to guests when they came to the White House. So that is something that's waiting on him, on Joe Biden when he does get into the West Wing here in a few moments after, of course.
TAPPER: All right, let's listen in to this moment in history.
(BAND PLAYING "HAIL TO THE CHIEF")
TAPPER: Well, America, meet your new first family. The Bidens are walking into the house now, the White House where the president and first lady will make their new home.
And for anybody out there wondering, yes, there has been a deep clean of the building, given the fact that the previous occupants did not take coronavirus particularly seriously. So do not worry about that.
The parade across America is about to start now. Here's Jon Stewart.
JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: This grand tradition. This year we've had to create a new style of parade, allowing Americans from our states and U.S. territories the ability to participate safely from their hometowns.
It's been a tough year. A pandemic, economic downturns, political divisions, social unrest. But we need to remember this, that every day you may not be hearing about it on the news. You may not be seeing it on the internet, but there are millions of unsung American heroes who are keeping our nation going. Caring for our loved ones. Teaching our kids. Keeping us all connected. Making us smile. Reminding us about what it is to truly be an American and what is great about America.
That's what this day is about. An America united by our commitment to each other.
One of those heroes is Dr. Jason Campbell, he's a resident physician in Oregon. You probably know him a little bit better as the dancing TikTok doc. Dr. Campbell, how are you doing?
DR. JASON CAMPBELL, KNOWN AS THE DANCING TIKTOK DOC: Mr. Stewart, I'm doing well. How are you? Thank you for having me
STEWART: When did you start dancing? Is this a recent thing? You're tremendous at it. You clearly, you had training.
CAMPBELL: I started dancing when I was in high school, you know, maybe seventh or eighth grade, but popping and locking and break dancing. They actually called me popping J in my high school.
STEWART: I was also referred to as popping J in high school for the way that often times how my back vertebrae would pop.
This must be obviously your first inaugural parade, yes?
CAMPBELL: Yes, it is. This is, you know, incredibly special. If you look at obviously President Biden being elected and then Vice President Harris as the first African-American, Indian woman. That's incredibly special.
Something that I know that I treasure, that my family treasures and that many that look like me are very proud to see.
STEWART: I look forward to the pandemic being over so that you and I may join a break dancing crew together.
CAMPBELL: I would love that. What do you think the name be?
STEWART: Probably be called the good dancing doctor and the old man who looks like he hurt himself. It's a long name.
CAMPBELL: It's catchy.
STEWART: You're a good man, Dr. Campbell. And we're so delighted you were able to catch up with us and we'll hopefully check you out later.
CAMPBELL: Thank you for having me, Mr. Stewart.
STEWART: And so if you will it's time to kick off for the first time in our nation's history and, god willing, the last time we won't be able to be together. Here it is, our virtual parade across America.
TONY GOLDWYN, ACTOR: I'm Tony Goldwyn. I've got to tell you, I've played a president on TV a few years ago, and I never got a parade from Shonda Rhimes, anything like the one you're going to see today.
As Jon Stewart noted our Parade Across America features Americans from across the country, joining us from their hometowns. In fact, over the next hour or so you're going to see participants and performers from all 50 states in every U.S. territory honored to be part of this day, committed to the ideal of an America united.
Simply put, it's a virtual road show. We've got marching bands, we have baton and flag twirlers, dancers, equestrians, drill teams, musical performances, as well as tributes to some of the American heroes living right next door to us who've been making a difference in their communities during this terrible pandemic.
Americans united on this historic day. And even though a virtual event is a bit different, this parade remains fateful to its most treasured and beloved traditions and one of those traditions is a performance by a group of musicians ...
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right, we are watching the inaugural parade of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. And we're going to have a hybrid virtual live parade due to safety concerns coming. I want to look here though at Kamala Harris, the vice president and her husband's motorcade her approaching. Brianna Keilar is on the parade route as you've seen her there on the route. What do you see, Brianna, from where you're standing now?
KEILAR: So this shot that you are seeing looking toward them is being taken essentially not too far from where I am. And I am looking down now, past the Treasury building to the motorcade for the vice president.
So, we are awaiting to see if -- you know, this is really the moment that the president had to get out and walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, past the Treasury building, past the White House, into the White House.
So we're going to wait and see if we are, perhaps, going to get a glimpse of the vice president and the second gentleman. Right now, they are holding in place, as we listen to the Howard University drum line, which is quite festive, I must add, just down the way. It's really wonderful.
And so we're -- that's of course -- that's of course her alma mater, the vice president's alma mater. So we are waiting to see at this point in time as we are looking down Pennsylvania Avenue here towards her motorcade.
I will also mention that there is a truck of press that is tracking her in order to get some good views of the president and the vice president. They have been followed by open bed trucks with large contingents of press on them.
You're looking now at a shot of the Howard University Marching Band and what we sort of saw before was this kind of -- for the president was this grand entrance by the University of Delaware marching band. So we're waiting to see if that's what we see with the vice president coming this way. Hopefully, Erin. We're keeping our eye out here.
BURNETT: Yes, we see them. As you said the Howard University band there and, you know, they pause sort of like this, as well, for the president, when President Biden, of course and the first lady got out and walked.
Brianna, I know where you were. Actually at one point the president sort of running over and talking somebody in the press. He did that again other times. So obviously, we are anticipating, and it is quite likely, obviously, that the vice president and her husband, the second gentleman, will also be getting out. Kate Bennett is there -- yes, sorry, Kate are you closer or is Brianna closer?
BENNETT: I think I'm closer. I think I might be a little bit closer. I can see the back of the vice president's car. We are just seeing some of her family members, Doug Emhoff's children, the vice president's stepchildren, walk towards her vehicle in much the same way we just saw the Biden grandchildren walk toward the president and first lady, sort of seems like the same setup here.