Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

The Inauguration Of Joe Biden; Biden Takes First Major Steps Of New Administration; Senate Confirms Director Of National Intelligence. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired January 20, 2021 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: A historic night begins soon, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: And I love all of those people. Bruce Springsteen, can't wait to hear Bruce Springsteen. Jon Bon Jovi, I want to hear Jon Bon Jovi. All of them good. Excellent, excellent coverage and it's only just beginning here.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening. These are live pictures from the White House where a new President is now leading this country. A new era is beginning in the nation's capital and tonight, a star-studded concert celebrating America is about to get underway.

Good evening, I'm Anderson Cooper. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are going for a big finish to cap their historic inauguration, which has honored Democratic traditions and reinvented that.

The celebration begins soon at the Lincoln Memorial and across the country. Expect to hear from both the President and Vice President along with a roster of A-list entertainers.

Kicking things off will be the boss, Bruce Springsteen. Justin Timberlake will team up with Ant Clemons, they have a new single together. There will be performances by John Legend, a big Biden supporter and Katy Perry, who announced she will appear on stage tonight.

Now we're going to go with the White House and with Jake Tapper. Jake, President Biden has already gotten to work. It is now his administration -- Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: That's right, Anderson. Tonight's concert will replace the traditional slew of Inaugural Balls. That's because of course, safety precautions during the pandemic. There will be amazing music and a lot more and CNN will bring it to you live.

There will be an appearance by "Hamilton" creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda. Former Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton will talk about the importance of this moment and the strength of the American democracy.

Plus, host, Tom Hanks will kick off a tribute to frontline workers who have risked and sometimes sacrifice their lives to care for us during this pandemic. But there's also a lot of news going on because we have a new

President and he is making a lot of changes. So let's go straight to the White House where we just heard our first briefing from the new Press Secretary, Jen Psaki. CNN Chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins, who just started with her new title today, congratulations, has the details. Kaitlan, what did Jen Psaki have to say?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was notable, Jake for how different it was in the first briefing that we saw in the Trump administration. No shouting or attacks on reporters, but plenty of questions for the incoming and the new White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki there of course, about Biden's first day in office.

Those Executive Orders that he signed, when he is going to make his first phone call to a foreign leader, which we are now told is going to happen on Friday with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but also what he thinks about the Senate trial and their pursuit of the Impeachment Article of President Trump and what that's going to look like.

And so Jake, a lot of questions for her today from reporters, including one about the fate of the F.B.I. Director, Chris Wray, and whether or not President Biden has confidence in him. She did not answer that yes or no, so we are waiting to see what that's going to look like.

But I do want to note, you saw Joe Biden sitting there in the Oval Office. That's when he was signing those Executive Orders earlier, and he was asked about that letter that President Trump left him. He seemed to hint there could be a chance that the two of them were going to speak. She said that was more of just President Biden being polite and that there are no plans for them to speak as it goes right now.

But about those Executive Orders that he signed, which are strictly aimed at basically undoing what you have seen Donald Trump do over the last four years, but specifically over the last 10 months or so, when it comes to coronavirus given that as their number one priority. A lot of that has to do with mask requirements on Federal grounds, eviction moratoriums, things of that nature, student loan payments.

They said there is more to come because there are going to be more briefings tomorrow, including conversations that we are expecting to happen with Dr. Anthony Fauci, of course.

One thing I do want to note, Jake, about those executive orders that happened, Jen Psaki said they went through a pretty comprehensive O.L.C. process before -- that's the Office of Legal Counsel -- to make sure they were aboveboard and legally sound. That is a far cry from what we saw in the early days at the Trump administration, when of course that Muslim ban went into place. It created chaos at airports all over the country.

So you're already seeing a different approach, not just in the bigger details, but even in the granular ones -- Jake. TAPPER: All right, Kaitlan Collins, thank you so much.

CNN senior White House correspondent, Phil Mattingly is also joining us. And Phil, the Biden administration is kind of playing catch up here because the Trump administration, because the President -- former President Trump -- refused to acknowledge reality and fought the results of the election, fought democracy tooth and nail, they weren't able to commence the transition process as quickly as would have been good for them and more importantly would have been good for the American people.

Tell us that what that is like for the Biden administration now that they are actually on the job.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake. I've been talking to administration officials across the government as they kind of landed their new departments and agencies, and one of the things that I keep picking up is based on that transition process, that there's significant concern that there are a lot of unknowns about what they're walking into, still, at this point, and this is an agency by agency. Some agencies had better and more fulsome transition processes than others.

But two administration officials tell me that those significant concerns are the big outstanding issue right now. They're trying to get a better sense of where their predecessors left things on that first day.

They had landing teams, they had a transition process, but as one person told me, it's the unknowns that we are trying to dig out right now, and that's what's causing the greatest concern.

Now, this could be problematic going forward because the administration has made very clear from the President on down, they want to start fast out of the gate Executive Actions, legislative proposals, they will need the agencies to put into place a number of things as well.

Earlier today, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain sent a memo to every single department and agency head freezing and asking to rescind any rulemaking that isn't through the process up to this point. Now, that is pretty normal for a new administration coming in trying to get a sense of where things stand.

But one administration official, I was talking to said it is particularly relevant at this point in time, given the rocky transition process, given how little sense they have in some agencies about what they're coming into.

They want to ensure that nothing the Trump administration did in the final days that they weren't aware of or that they could pull off the table before they have an opportunity to put their own policies in place actually goes through. That memo matters. That memo has teeth, and that memo underscores that the Biden administration while it is full-go and while the President has made clear they want to go fast out of the gate, still has a lot to get their arms around in these opening days -- Jake.

TAPPER: Yes, and again, just to reiterate, it's not about being nice to Joe Biden, it's about what's best for the American people and a transition being able to begin as soon as possible is what would have been best for the American people. Phil Mattingly, thanks so much.

There's lots of action at the Capitol as well, with new senators being sworn in and a confirmation vote on President Biden's nominee for Director of National Intelligence. Let's go to CNN chief congressional correspondent, Manu Raju.

So tell us what's going on up there.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, actually, the Democrats taking control of the Senate for the first time officially in the majority and in the first move confirming a Biden Cabinet nominee, Avril Haines to be the Director of National Intelligence confirmed at an 84 to 10 vote, but that was the only nomination confirmed so far different than past Presidents.

Donald Trump had two confirmed on day one, Barack Obama had six, George W. Bush had seven; just one for Joe Biden. There's the one reason, big reason why the other nominees haven't been confirmed. It is that debate ongoing between the top Democrat, the new Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and the Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell about how exactly they will share power in the new Congress, which is split 50 to 50 in the Senate and Kamala Harris will be breaking ties in the Senate, giving the Democrats the majority.

But there was a disagreement about how to organize the Committees and as a result, the Committee process may get essentially derailed, meaning these nominations may take some time to actually be considered in the United States Senate.

So just as Joe Biden is demanding action on his nominees, it could take a while for the Senate to actually get to that point. Still questions remain about whether or not a deal can be reached about whether to how to organize the Senate.

And one big reason why is that Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader is demanding that they spare the potent tactics to stall legislation called the filibuster. Republican and Democrats are saying that they will not agree to that. So Jake, even made the calls for unity on both sides, call to turn the page, uncertain about whether or not the Senate can get its act together get these nominations confirmed and allow Joe Biden's nominations Cabinet to be formed here -- Jake.

TAPPER: That's right, a lot of Democrats do want to do away, they want to get rid of the filibuster and Mitch McConnell is fighting that tooth and nail. Manu Raju, thanks so much.

You know, Danna and Abby, you know, on one level, it's nice to see normal press releases and normal responses from Republicans to Democrats, for example, Senator Ted Cruz, objecting to the fact that Biden is rejoining the Paris Climate Accord saying that, you know, it's just as I think Trump said, he is valuing -- Biden is valuing the citizens of Paris more than the citizens of Pittsburgh.

On the other hand, it was just over two weeks ago, when Senator Ted Cruz was voting to throw out the votes, of not just the citizens of Pittsburgh, but the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

So I know there is an attempt to go forward as if like, okay, let's reset. It's back to 2012 or whatever. I don't know that most people in this town are going to be okay with just like plunging ahead and pretending the last two months didn't happen?


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. But, you know, the message that we heard from Joe Biden, in his inaugural address, and since and certainly from Jen Psaki in the briefing room behind you, is just that, is that they want to try to move forward.

It's not as if they don't -- these Republicans don't have questions to answer still. It's not as if it would not be nice for them to acknowledge the reality that the election was not stolen, but that isn't going to change things.

What is something that they are all going to have to deal with, Republicans in the Senate, is impeachment and as much as the Biden White House is focused so much on really assaulting the Trump legacy from the get-go here on climate, on immigration, on diversity, on the whole way to approach the COVID issue and just even a mask mandate for Federal buildings. There is still the question about whether or not Republicans are going to vote yes or no, on impeachment because a trial is likely to happen rather soon.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: There's also a question of whether Republicans are going to use impeachment as an excuse to hold up the Biden agenda. I think that's what it seems to be. That's what seems to be being teed up here by some Republican lawmakers who are basically saying, no, we can't do both things at once.

We can't push forward your nominees, we can't give you a COVID relief bill if you also want to try to have an impeachment hearing for a President who is not even in office anymore. That's going to be a major challenge for the Biden administration, which is I think, one of the reasons that Joe Biden himself has been a little ambivalent about this impeachment process in the first place.

But secondly, you know, you're already seeing some other Republican senators trying to hold up Biden's nominees based off of policy disagreements with this administration, and one of -- you know, one thing that that just draws to mind is that, you know, you're going to start to see Republicans suddenly holding Joe Biden to a higher standard than they held, you know, President Trump to for the last four years on a lot of different issues, but especially because, you know, President Trump, you know, voiced support for all kinds of policy issues that Democrats hated. And yet, you know, his Cabinet was largely approved. His Cabinet members, some of them had serious issues with their

background checks, with other issues and they were put forward anyway. And I do think that there's going to be a little bit of a --

TAPPER: Disconnect? Hypocrisy?

PHILLIP: Yes. Some hypocrisy happening in Washington newsflash, but that's going to be on full display in the next --

TAPPER: I mean, holding Biden to a higher standard, they held comedians like Kathy Griffin and Michelle Wolf to a higher standard than they held Donald Trump. So that wouldn't be a surprise at all.

One thing that's interesting about impeachment is, I've heard from Republicans on the Hill, that delaying the trial would actually be smart for Democrats who, by the way, the House Democrats have not delivered the impeachment document to the Senate yet.

PHILLIP: They haven't even said when they will.

TAPPER: Yes, they haven't even said when they're going to do that. So, it's not as though it's not as though Republican -- it is not as though anybody in the Senate is sitting on this. But the other thing is, if there's an investigation, right, and we find out more that suggests that there was more involvement in what happened by Trump and his associates, then we know right now, that might make it easier to convict than right now if they did.

BASH: Yes, yes, it could, and you know, the calculus is difficult politically, however, they slice it because, I mean, everybody wants to move on, but Democrats and some Republicans feel that they really can't do it until -- the word that they use is justice is brought to put a complete you know, lid on the past.

TAPPER: Anderson, I'll throw it to you now.

COOPER: Coming up, Jake, Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Tim McGraw, Katy Perry and Tom Hanks. Just some of the stars about to take part in tonight's inaugural concert. We'll bring it to you live. We'll be right back.



COOPER: We are awaiting the start of a concert in the nation's capital celebrating the Inauguration of President Joe Biden. It is supposed to begin at any moment at the Lincoln Memorial. Bruce Springsteen is going to kick it off. Jon Bon Jovi is among music stars participating. Country music fans, Tim McGraw and Tyler Hubbard will perform together as well. We're going to hear a song from Demi Lovato as well as this goes on.

In addition to the musical performances, we'll hear from a number of names from a variety of fields all eager to celebrate the new Biden administration and the United States. There will be appearances by NBA legend, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, actresses Kerry Washington and Eva Longoria who played a role in the Democratic Convention, will be back tonight.

As we expect to hear from the man and the woman of the hour, we are standing by for remarks from President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris as well. While we wait, let's go to CNN's White House correspondent Kate Bennett.

Kate, you're getting some new information about where Vice President Harris is going to be tonight.

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. My colleague, Jasmine Wright is reporting that Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff, the new Vice President and Second Gentlemen will not be moving into the Vice President's residence right away. They will be staying in their current D.C. home.

The Vice President's residence was built in 1893. It is an old structure on the grounds of the Naval Observatory here in Washington. It needs repairs. And they're saying those repairs would best happen with no one living there. There's no timeframe for when they will move in, but I assume as soon as these repairs or renovations are done, the Vice President and her husband will move in.

Also, Anderson, some new news here about the Chief Usher of the White House, Timothy Harleth. Now, he was hired under Melania Trump in 2017. He came from the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. The Chief Usher of the White House is out. The Bidens are going to hire somebody new. Timothy Harleth conducted the job for, you know, a very small amount of time in terms of how long Chief Ushers of the White House typically stay. The longest stayed more than 20 years. These are jobs that don't typically turn over with an administration.


BENNETT: So it is unusual that Harleth is out; however, he did -- he has a Trump Hotel, Trump hospitality background.

The job of Chief Usher though sort of sounds different. It's actually the General Manager of the entire White House. So it is a very important job. The Bidens need to feel comfortable with the person holding that job. Right now, the current Chief Usher is no longer there -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Kate Bennett, appreciate it. Thanks. As we await for this event to begin tonight, let's just talk about the day that we have witnessed and that is still ongoing.

Van, you've had some hours to kind of think about it.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's just mesmerizing just to watch a functional government doing functional government type things. I mean, there was a press conference and there was a human and that person said words and the words made sense.

And then somebody asked a question, and the person who answered the question, and you're just crying because oh, my God. And then Biden --

COOPER: It's just like a "Saturday Night Live" skit?

JONES: Unbelievable -- I mean, Biden --


JONES: I don't know, but it is wonderful. Thank God. Hallelujah, Jesus. I'm so happy. And then you had Biden literally just swearing in the people, and he was telling them be nice to each other and if you if you don't be nice to each other, I'm going to fire you because -- I mean, that was powerful.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: And you had a Press Secretary give a briefing on the first day, and ended the briefing saying, let's do this again tomorrow. We're going to do this again tomorrow -- talking about truth. Someone who was a White House Communications Director before this, who worked at the State Department, Jen Psaki, I'm talking about who knew what she was doing, who talked about plans and actions.

COOPER: She did dodge some questions.

BORGER: She did dodge some questions. She didn't say whether the President had confidence in Wray, the current F.B.I. Director, she'll get back to you on it. But she did talk about how impeachment might proceed. There are problems with that in the Senate, I think. But you know, they can do business in the morning -- they can do impeachment in the morning and do the business in the afternoon. The Republicans who are going to object to it.

But it shows you what experience means and how it matters when you have to pick up running a government without a real transition and in a crisis.

COOPER: And big picture, David, though, I mean, it is just an extraordinary shift in tectonic plates.

AXELROD: Well, one of the reasons Joe Biden was elected was because he was the antithesis of Donald Trump. He was the most radical change in certain ways in terms of style, approach, personality, experience, in every single way.

But let me say the thing that in reflecting on this, one of the things that struck me is, you know, George Burns once said, all you need to succeed in show business is sincerity and if you can fake that, you've got it made.

Biden doesn't have to fake this. This day was completely -- the speech and everything about this day, was built around his purse, his beliefs, his personality, his faith in this country, his faith generally. And that was the other point I wanted to make. His deep, deep faith, which was so evident today was a great advantage to him, even in the election, because we have great cultural divides in this country. And one of them is about between people of faith and people who aren't

-- and people -- and the people -- there are people of faith who identify with the Democratic Party with secularism. And here's a guy who is unapologetic about his faith and it guides him and that's clear. And I think that's a great advantage.

The second thing is that scene at Arlington with the President was important not just to show Commanders-in-Chief of both parties standing with the new Commander-in-Chief, but Biden's connection to the military, because of his son is another cultural bridge that he has built into parts of the country that might be suspicious of a Democratic President.

So there are a lot of cultural cues he sent in that speech and with his presentations today, that I think are very important to advance this project of unity that he is speaking about.

EVAN OSNOS, BIDEN BIOGRAPHER: And I think it's interesting that it's not just unity here in the United States. It's also about the message we're sending to the rest of the world, you know, part of this project right now, the whole world is watching. How is the United States handling this moment of transition?

If you look at the things they've done today, the first thing they have chosen all send a very specific message. They rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement. They rescinded the Muslim ban and of course they're beginning to put masks on people and that all of these in one way or another are beginning to unwind the image that we have developed over the last four years.


BORGER: And they're going to rejoin the World Health Organization, and Tony Fauci is going to be the emissary to the World Health Organization. You're right, it's not only undoing, but because Biden is experienced and has relationships with other heads of state, they also told you who he's talking to on Friday. He is going to talk to the Canadian Prime Minister on Friday, we're going to get readouts of who he is talking to.

And this is all part of that kind of normalizing, I think that we're seeing right now and it's kind of back to the future in a way, right?

COOPER: It is such a shift also, just not to have the kind of the unknown constantly hanging over one's heads. And this is the longest I think, as a country, we have gone without saying the name of the former President.

AXELROD: No need to start now. No, but that is part of what the world wants to see. And that's why it's going to take some time, the world is worried about America's reliability right now. And Biden has a project ahead of him to reestablish America's liability in the business community, you know, tired of Trump, because -- there I said it -- because he was so unpredictable.

So many of the institutions that we that we see and rely on, they want predictability. Joe Biden is like a Swiss clock. He is predictable.

COOPER: You know, also not trying to build a cult of personality around one person --

JONES: And to actually make the government work. And that's just the thing I want to say is that I think Kamala Harris, I mean, people around the country, you know, are just really moved by her person.

COOPER: Historic in so many ways -- Jake.

TAPPER: One thing we will definitely see this evening is the return of the involvement of Hollywood and the entertainment industry in politics. With a handful of exceptions like Kid Rock and Dean Cain, most actors and musicians have stayed out of the White House, and the supporting of the President. But Joe Biden is a Democrat, and of course, a lot of people in Hollywood were rather horrified by the previous President.

So the concert tonight is going to remind people perhaps of what it was like during the Obama years or the Clinton years before that.

BASH: Very, very different. I mean, it's going to be a who's who of Hollywood, particularly on the music front. We are going to hear from people like Bruce Springsteen, Carole King, James Taylor, and the list goes on and on and on.

And a lot of these people -- share even, and a lot of these people aren't just here -- I mean, they're obviously here in support of Joe Biden. But a lot of them also worked really, really hard specifically to defeat Donald Trump and they want to come celebrate.

PHILLIP: Yes, I was going to say exactly the same thing. It's been amazing to see so many people in the entertainment industry, even some who might surprise you, being drawn out and drawn into politics by this last administration.

You know, Taylor Swift comes to mind as someone who I think people didn't think was particularly politically inclined and has been pretty outspoken in the political sphere. So we're back to a new kind of normal here where you know, Hollywood is back backing the Democrats, these concerts are happening.

But what's different about this is that, this is in lieu of what we would normally have tonight, which would be these massive inaugural balls, invitation only ball gowns and dresses, this is going to be a much more egalitarian affair where people can watch from home. But it's not going to be quite as exclusive as the previous inaugurations would have been around this time.

TAPPER: Yes. And that way, you could say President Trump for at least on this did succeed in draining the swamp because normally these inaugural balls and parties around this day are full of sleazy access politics for corporations buy in access, but because of course of the threat of MAGA terrorist attacks and the pandemic, that is not happening. So, kudos on that small measure of draining the swamp. Hollywood did get involved quite a bit in the election. I saw they did

a lot of Zoom events to fundraise for individual state parties. So that Wisconsin Democrats, for example, or Pennsylvania Democrats could get out the vote.

It was actually some of the most effective use of Hollywood that I've ever seen.

BASH: Table reads. They did table reads of old scripts from the 80s, from the 90s. You know, they got cast back together.

TAPPER: Yes, I know.

BASH: And we are going to see some of those actors tonight.


TAPPER (voice-over): And we're going to see them right now, it is the we (INAUDIBLE), We the People concert it is a star studded affair and let's turn to it right now the star studded inaugural concert celebrating America.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, SINGER: Good evening, America. I'm proud to be here in cold Washington D.C. tonight. I want to offer this small prayer for our country. This is land of hope and dreams.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please welcome our host, Tom Hanks.

TOM HANKS, "CELEBRATING AMERICA" CONCERT HOST: Bruce Springsteen's Land of Hope and Dreams kicks off tonight celebrating America. On this day, which saw the inauguration of our 46th President Joseph R. Biden Jr. I'm at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in our nation's secured capital city.

The last few weeks, in the last few years, we witnessed deep divisions and a troubling rancor in our land. But tonight, we ponder the United States of America, the practice of our democracy, the foundations of our republic, the integrity of our Constitution, the hope and dreams we all share for a more perfect the union.


To sum a presidential inauguration is a tradition, an act that marks the commitment of a new four year term. Yet in truth, Inauguration Day is about much more than the swearing in of our next national leaders. This day is about witnessing the permanence of our American ideal. Every four years, we hear the words that will empower us all, on the journey ahead, a message that can unite us as we begin a new passes from where we are, to where we can be.

A trek to a common goal, to the promise of our promised land. The keynote of this day is the Presidential Inaugural Address, the new president, Republican, Democrat, lays out a vision for the nation. If the words ring out, it is not only due to the power of the oratory, it is because the dream of America has no limits, and resonates well beyond any single day. Tonight, we share memorable passages from the inaugural remarks of four of our past presidents each spoke to a specific moment in our history. FDR rallied us in the Great Depression, JFK inspired a new generation to serve. Ronald Reagan spoke of the peaceful transition of power for a shining city on a hill. And Abraham Lincoln sought to unite us after all war that tore us apart.


KAREEM ABDUL JABBAR, PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM HONOREE: With malice toward none, with a charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right. Let us strive on to finish the work we are in. To bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him, we shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish, adjust and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.

DOLORES HUERTA, LABOR AND CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: This great nation will endure as it has endured and will prosper. So first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing that we have to fear is fear itself.

BRAYDEN HARRINGTON, STUDENT: In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom and it's our maximum danger. I do not shrink this responsibility. I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us will change places with any other people, or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which you bring to this endeavor, will light our country and all deserve it. And the glow from that fire and truly like the world. And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.

KIM NG, FIRST WOMAN MLB MANAGER: To a few of us here today, this is a solemn and most momentous occasion. And yet in the history of our nation, it is a commonplace occurrence. The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the constitution routinely takes place, as it has for almost two centuries, and few of us stopped to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this every four-year ceremony we accept as normal, is nothing less than a miracle.


HANKS: We'll celebrate America with more performances and tributes to the men and women across the country who have provided strength and kept us going through hardships and troubled times. Ahead, President Biden speaks to the nation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coming up more great music, and we recognize outstanding service by our citizens on celebrating America.


EVA LONGORIA BASTON, ACTRESS: I'm Eva Longoria. Over the last three days Americans have honored the start of this new chapter by reaffirming our commitment to some of our nation's highest ideals, community, empathy, and democracy. It began with our national day of service on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, when Americans across the country volunteered in their neighborhoods, providing COVID-19 relief and addressing issues highlighted by the pandemic in pursuit of the economic and social justice that Dr. King envisioned in his beloved community.


Yesterday the Presidential Inaugural Committee hosted a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool to honor those who have died during the pandemic. It was a powerful moment to remember our loved ones, and renew our commitment to work together to end the pandemic and rebuild our nation.

When earlier today, we took part in some of the most important moments in the continuing evolution of our democracy. From the swearing in ceremony, to the President's speech, to the parade across America and the procession to the White House. We've been reminded that it's our responsibility as citizens to protect and build a more inclusive democracy every day.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. Do solemnly swear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That I will faithfully execute.

BIDEN: That I will faithfully execute.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Office of President of the United States.

BIDEN: Office of President of the United States.


BIDEN: So help me God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations, Mr. President.

BIDEN: The world is watching. So here's my message to those beyond our borders, America has been tested. And we've come out stronger for it.

KAMAL HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. And I will allow and faithfully discharge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The duties of the office on which I am about to hedge it.

HARRIS: The duties of the office, from the time about (INAUDIBLE).


HARRIS: So help me God.

BIDEN: History, faith, the reason show the way, the way of unity. We can see each other not as adversaries but as neighbors. We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature. This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge and unity is the path forward.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we merged mercy, with mites and the mites with rights then love becomes our legacy in change our children's birth right.


HARRIS: Welcome back to "Celebrating America". Here are some exceptional Americans who have stepped up. They are the indispensable folks who've arrived the daily services we too often take for granted.


BIDEN: I think that the essential workers carry the rest of us on the shoulders through these many months. The grocery store clerks, delivery clerks, the driver, the folks on the assembly line, the meat pack, too often overlooked. Giving the best to the country. They need the most. That's the America we know. That's who we are.

ANTHONY JASKIN, DELIVERY MAN: Good evening. I'm Anthony Jaskin in the hallway neighborhood just outside of Richmond, Virginia. And I deliver packages to the people who live here. And tonight I'm honored to represent the many frontline workers across our nation who keep America going. It's not only a job for us, but we care about the people who live here and know that they're concerned for us and our safety. And now I have a special delivery for you, from Miami, Jon Bon Jovi.


BRENNAN LOMBARDO, U. S.MARINE CORPS: Fellow Americans, I'm U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Brennan Lombardo and I'm an aviation operations specialist station and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. Over here we're focused on protecting and defending our regional allies, partners in the United States of America.

Our joint forces are committed to preserving security, stability and freedom, no matter what challenges we face. Though our station more than 6,000 miles away in the Asia Pacific. We're truly honored to celebrate this ceremony with you. Congratulations to our new commander-in-chief (INAUDIBLE).


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coming up, more fantastic performances and tributes to our everyday heroes on "Celebrating America".


JOHN KRASINSKI, ACTOR: Good evening, everybody. And now for some good news.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every night all these people have been cheering on the health care workers during their shift change.

The small army of citizens making mask for New York's finest cheering on out of state health care workers. The TikTok doc spreading positivity during a pandemic. Some are using these dark days to create some bright bold ideas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: COVID-19 is tap the creative nerve that many of us never even knew we had.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The dance new (INAUDIBLE) very beautiful (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During a crisis, you know cocktail hour (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bride by celebrations have become quite popular during these times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: DJ Kopec says he raised $1 million for the Baltimore Child Abuse Center.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A leading artists offers us songs of comfort.


YO-YO MA, MUSICIAN: This is just something that I can do. We have been tested these last 10 months as individuals, families, and communities. But in the midst of devastation and loss, there were moments when the flickering light pointed us toward a brighter future, you brought us comfort, you sustained us. And so, that light grew and became bright in the universe. This is for all of you, who found new ways for us to smile together.


HANKS: Now, it is my honor to introduce the President of the United States, Joseph R. Biden Jr.

BIDEN: Hello, all the participants tonight event. It's humbling to stand here in this place in front of these sacred words, humbling out of respect to President Lincoln, and the office we now share and humbling because of you, the American people. As I said earlier today, we've learned again that democracy is precious. Because of you, democracy has prevailed.

That's why Jill and I, Kamala and Doug, wanted to make sure our inauguration was not about us, but about you, the American people. This is a great nation. We're good people, and overcome the challenges in front of us requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy. Unity, requires us to come together in common love that defines us as Americans. Opportunity, liberty, dignity and respect and unite against common foes hate, violence, disease and hopelessness.

America's story depends not on any one of us. Not on some of us, but on all of us. On we the people. That's the task before us. The only way we'll get through the darkness around us. There are moments in our history when more is asked of us as Americans. We saw that in the Civil War. We saw that with Dr. King dreaming from these steps across the mall.


We are in one of those moments now, the pandemic, economic crisis, racial injustice, the climate crisis, and threats to our very democracy. The question is, are we up to it? Will we meet the moment like our forebears have? I believe we must. And I believe we will. You the American people are the reason why I've never been more optimistic about America than I am this very day. There isn't anything we can't do, if we do it together.

And that's what you'll see tonight, stories of ordinary Americans who do extraordinary things. That's how we'll celebrate America, and respect and represent America in our time in office.

America, America, builded of decency -- is built of decency and dignity, of love and healing, of greatness and goodness, of possibilities. This is a story that guides us inspires us and unites us today and always. So, thank you for this honor. I will give my all to you.

May God bless America, and may God protect our troops.

HANKS: Well, thank you, Mr. President. Throughout tonight, we're giving special thanks to Americans who keep our nation moving forward despite all obstacles, they are our friends, and they are our neighbors. They keep us from going hungry.

They educate our children and make sacrifices, both personal and professional, to help us all hang on for another meal another day, until next month. We could not cope without them. By their example, they're encouraged many others to join them in performing acts of kindness, and decency, and the easing of shared burdens.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With love and understanding, and with small acts of kindness, you show up for each other in big ways and small ones, again, and again. It's what so many of you are doing right now for your loved ones, for complete strangers for your communities.

CAVANAUGH BELL: I've given 130 care packages to senior citizens, they mean more trust than anything else.

Hi, my name is Cavanaugh Bell and I spread positivity to inspire others to change the world. Because the pandemic left so many in need, I decided to make care packs to help elderly people in my community. And now I'm able to gather supplies to give to families across the country.

Thanks to the people who pitch in every day to help. That's why love wins. And I am so excited to introduce the amazing song better days from Memphis. Here's Ant Clemons and Justin Timberlake.