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CNN Live Event/Special
President Joe Biden And Vice President Kamala Harris Were Sworn In At The U.S. Capitol; President Biden Moves Quickly To Undo Trump Policies; COVID Relief Negotiations Will Test Biden's Bipartisan Push; President Biden Invokes Dr. King As He Honors Vice President Kamala Harris; New Radicals Reunite To Perform At Inaugural Parade; White House Releases Schedule For Biden's First Full Day. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired January 20, 2021 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST (on camera): The Nation's Capital, the country is under new leadership tonight on this historic day. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, beginning a new chapter in a country in need of hope. I'm Anderson Cooper with our special coverage.
This inauguration was filled with some familiar images, steeped in tradition, and striking after four years of shattered norms. America's new leaders joining with members of both parties on the same ground where domestic terrorists attacked two weeks ago.
The new Vice President Kamala Harris taking her place in history as the most powerful woman and woman of color to serve in high office. The traditional parade and other events were either scaled back or reimagined because of security concerns and, of course, the pandemic.
But there were celebrations including tonight's stunning fireworks show and concerts replace of the usual inaugural balls. We'll bring in Jake Tapper over the White House. But President Biden, Jake, certainly now the real work, the hard work is about to begin.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (on camera): That's right, Anderson. And the president, the new president is not trying to sugar coat the enormous challenges he and we as a nation are inheriting from President Trump.
Biden has already signed a flurry of executive orders and actions working to undo much of the legacy of Donald Trump, who fled Washington before the transfer of power took place. Now President Biden is trying to appeal to end what he calls America's uncivil war. Take a listen to some excerpts from his inaugural address.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The will of the people has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded. We've learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.
And so today at this time in this place, let's start afresh, all of us. Let's begin to listen to one another again, hear one another, see one another, show respect to one another. Policies don't have to be a raging fire destroying everything in its path.
Every disagreement doesn't have to be a cause for total war. Here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen, it will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever.
To all those who did not support us, let me say this. Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart. If you still disagree, so be it. That's democracy. That's America. The right to dissent peaceably within the guardrails of our republic is perhaps this nation's greatest strength. Disagreement must not lead to disunion. And I pledge this to you. I will be a president for all Americans, all Americans.
We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER (on camera): I want to bring in CNN chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins now. And Kaitlan, President Biden with the stroke of a pen is currently undoing much of the actions of his predecessor.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yes, Jake, I don't think it should go unnoticed just how full-scale this assault on the Donald Trump agenda really is during this first day in office. Not even his first full day in office, because you saw him there in the oval room when reporters came in as he was signing some of these executive actions.
You see how many there are there, Jake, stacked up next to him. And what we are hearing from White House officials is there are more to come. But to look at just what he did today, a lot of it has to say about even things that we saw just in the last year of Trump's presidency.
And one of the letters that we just got from the White House, a copy of it, is a letter that Biden sent to the director general of the World Health Organization saying that he is retracting a notice they got from President Trump over the summer. I believe it was back in July of 2020, saying that they were withdrawing the United States from the WHO. Biden says that is not the case. They think they actually need to
still be part of the WHO moving forward and dealing with this pandemic, given we are moving into the vaccine distribution phase. But that's not all. He also says he is going to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords.
Officials say they believe that is going to take about 30 days for that to go back into effect. That is a notable mark of a moment that happened in the early years of the Trump presidency. Something that he was -- he touted even just recently in recent days while talking about his accomplishments while in office.
But, Jake, on top of that it's even domestic issues as well. They have suspended construction of the president's border wall. Of course, that's the border wall that Mexico was not paying for despite what the president had promised.
He also signed that order mandating masks be worn on federal grounds. That's something that health advisers had gone to President Trump over. He had refused to do, just arguing really whether the merit was worth it. Biden signed that into order on his first day in office.
And you're also seeing other things, things trying to reverse the president's environmental agenda, trying to restore those federal efforts at diversity as well that you see going on.
I want to make sure I didn't forget -- of course, also the other one, which was one of the first things you saw Donald Trump do when he got into office, which was that ban on traveling from predominantly Muslim countries. They are reversing that.
So you're seeing throughout these executive orders, Jake, really what they intend to do with the Biden administration over the next few years. And it is basically not only pursuing their own agenda. It is really undoing basically Donald Trump's agenda. And they are going at it.
And we should note one more thing that Ron Klain, the new chief of staff, sent out basically a regulatory freeze, telling agency heads that if there are any pending rules happening at their agencies that haven't actually been fully installed yet.
They should stop them dead in their tracks so they can conduct a review and that seems pretty much aimed at making sure that those orders don't actually go into effect. Some of those could have been ones that the president tried to put in place during his last few days or hours in office, Jake.
TAPPER: That's right. And, Kaitlan, we should note, of course, that the travel ban on individuals from predominantly Muslim countries, that has its roots in completely bigoted proclamation that Donald Trump made as a candidate where he wanted to ban all Muslims from entering the country. And then the administration did everything it could to back its way into some way to do that in a legal way. But it is deeply rooted in religious bigotry. That's the origin from 2015, December 2015. So even though the version he has now is legal, its roots were completely contrary to what the United States stands for. Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much.
And Dana, let me just read one quick excerpt from this one, this executive action which is the termination of the emergency declaration that Donald Trump declared regarding the southern border. It shall be the policy of my administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall.
I am also directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to construct a southern border wall. So there you go. Mexico is not going to pay for this either.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yes, I mean, that's the thing. We have to say it really clearly and explicitly that this was based on a chant that Donald Trump used during his campaign in 2016, that he was really enthralled with because it got the crowd all riled up that Mexico was going to pay for a wall.
I mean, it was based on his immigration stance, which he pushed very, very hard on, and tried to continue to do it through his whole presidency. And it is no surprise that given the fact that Mexico did not pay for the wall, but that he started to build, we all did as taxpayers.
This is something that Joe Biden is saying, OK, let's pause this and do this the right way and try to figure out exactly what is going on down there, as opposed to just doing it through executive order. And I guess through some legislation.
And the other thing is that when it comes to another very controversial issue, which is deportation, it sounds as though the Biden administration is putting a pause on that for some non-U.S. citizens.
TAPPER: And then, Abby, there is also the move having to do with, I guess, it's not rejoining, but not withdrawing from the World Health Organization. The World Health Organization, which has been criticized by a lot of experts or by people who support the World Health Organization, for being too credulous when it came to the claims that the Chinese government was making about a year ago, about the coronavirus.
You can still find from about a year and a few days ago, a tweet from the World Health Organization saying that you cannot get, according to the Chinese government, coronavirus from person to person transmission, which obviously is devastatingly wrong.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST (on camera): And there are probably going to be a lot of things coming down the pike from the Biden administration to deal with the WHO and its failures on the coronavirus. In fact, we heard in one of the confirmation hearings just this past week that you know, not just the WHO, but China holds a lot of responsibility in the Biden administration's view for how the virus was handled early on, and the delay in tackling it as a global problem.
So I don't expect the Biden administration to simply just pretend like all of this didn't happen. But what is happening is it's a different view of American leadership on the global stage. President Trump's view was that if he disagreed with these global organizations, you just pull out of it. The World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization, you just pull out and go your own way.
And the Biden view is obviously the opposite. That these organizations exist and need American leadership. So, I think that that's going to be how they continue to move forward. But one other thing that I think is so striking today, not just in these executive orders, but in everything.
The imagery of all that we've seen tonight, the concert, the three presidents standing together is just the erasure of the Donald Trump years. In the same way that Trump attempted to erase a lot of Obama's legacy through executive orders.
Joe Biden is doing very much the same. And he's just, you know, taken the back of a pencil and just getting rid of a lot of things that Democrats had been so incensed by for so long. But Trump's complete absence from this process only underscores that he wrote himself out of this in so many ways.
And I'm not sure that Republicans are going to be so eager to reinstate all these executive orders that they had complained about for all these years, you know, prior to Trump using them for purposes of building a wall on the Southern Border that American taxpayers will pay for.
TAPPER: Yes, absolutely. Anderson?
COOPER: Jake, President Biden has spoken about bipartisanship that is already facing its first test. CNN's new senior White House correspondent Phil Mattingly, has some reporting on that. Phil, first of all, congratulations on the new position. What are you learning?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Thanks. Yes, Anderson, I think, you know, Kaitlan did a really good job running through all the executive actions that were signed today and there will be more sign over the course of the next couple of days.
But even the president himself acknowledged today what the administration really wants when it comes to COVID relief, when it comes to addressing the dual crises they're facing right now is a legislative proposal, primarily their $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal. But that unity is the path, as the president said today in his speech,
is running into an issue right off the bat and that's coming not just from Republicans, but from Democrats as well.
A very interesting moment when White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was holding a briefing today when she was asked whether or not they believed they could get bipartisan support for that proposal. And Psaki made clear that the White House is quote, not taking any tools off the table.
That has meaning. That, for Democrats, means a potential option where you move through the Senate on just purely a partisan basis using a budgetary tool that would allow less than 60 votes, just 51 votes here. Let me explain why that matters. Joe Biden has made very clear as president that he believes he can be a deal maker. That he believes he will create space on Capitol Hill for a new stimulus package, for a jobs bill that will follow.
In fact, Anderson, behind the scenes, multiple sources tell me, his legislative affairs team, his economic team have been working with specific lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats, briefing them on this proposal, trying to bring them in and more meetings will be coming in the days ahead.
The big question right now for the new team and for President Biden is, is bipartisanship possible? And if it's not, are they willing to go their own way and just on a partisan basis, just make something very clear. It's early. There are obviously a lot of meetings and a lot of actions that are going to be taken over the course of the next couple of days.
And don't discount the relationship that exists between President Biden and new Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. But this is a crucial issue. The cornerstone piece of legislation coming right out of the gate, Biden wants it to be bipartisan. We'll have to see.
COOPER: And do you know what happens tomorrow at the White House?
MATTINGLY: So, we do actually. Based on what was sent over to Capitol Hill yesterday, actually, in terms of what's coming over the course of the next couple days, tomorrow is going to be a very COVID-heavy day, a real focus on the public health side of coronavirus on the pandemic. Obviously, that was the focus today as well. But I think today served as kind of the precursor to what you're going to see over the next couple of days in the executive action phase.
Now according to the summary that was sent to Capitol Hill that my colleague Betsy Klein obtained. Basically, they're going to be going day by day on crucial issues. Tomorrow will be very -- public health centric. There will also be a day on immigration, a day on national security and international affairs, a day on more public health going on in the future.
What you are going to see, Anderson, just to kind of summarize what the administration is laying out in these initial days before the legislative phase really kicks into gear, priorities, priorities in a singular message.
Each day is going to be focused on one of the key priorities of this administration, laser focused on that key priority. You're going to see it day by day by day in the effort to kind of build the momentum for those legislative efforts that will follow.
COOPER: Phil Mattingly, I appreciate it. David Axelrod, I mean, a lot in the administration are talking about having a laser focus, or something on a day, I remember infrastructure week early on in the last administration.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR (on camera): Yes. Well, they had a particular problem because they had a president who kept blowing up their agendas. But this is not going to be the problem here.
But events can be the problem. Things happen. News happens. That's what you learn in the White House. It's like driving a racing car and trying to keep it on the track all the time, and it's so easy to spin off the track. And sometimes you're driven off the track because you have to react to events.
Because you can't -- it's not like a campaign where you choose to react or not react. When you're president, you have responsibilities and people expect you to deal with the things that come. So we'll see. It's a good idea to have a solid plan. We'll see if that happens. But the other thing that Phil was talking about is really interesting to me. I think maybe you and I have talked about this, but I've talked about it here before.
You know, Biden has competing imperatives here. One is to move very forcefully and vigorously and quickly on the virus. The other is to try and nurture this bipartisan ship. If they go to this procedure, budget reconciliation where you bypass the filibuster in the Senate, and you only need 51 votes, that means they're going to go basically Democrats only. And that can, you know, trigger reactions.
And so it's not a tool you want to use unless you have to use it. So I think they're going to, you know, they're going to probe and try and demonstrate and get caught trying to find partisan -- bipartisanship. It's going to be challenging.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST (on camera): But they have an almost $2 trillion stimulus program and they may end up saying, well, we're going to do specific COVID relief first, so people can get their vaccines because we need to hire 100,000 people to help us do that. And get the money to the people who need it.
You know, maybe Biden will decide that he can't do it all at once. They're laying it all out there. The one thing they don't have now is a president who doesn't know what he wants. Biden has made it very clear what he wants. He's not going to be backing out of it.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR (on camera): You've got the inside and you've got the outside. The grassroots is going to have to get ready now. The young people have done a great job. The deportation pause, the student debt pause, the oil pause, that's all young people stuff. You got to keep fighting for that because that's what's going to determine what happens on the inside.
COOPER: For the first time ever, a woman is first in line to the U.S. Presidency. A closer look at Kamala Harris's historic achievement next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Here we stand looking out on the great mall where Dr. King spoke of his dream. Here we stand where 108 years ago at another inaugural thousands of protesters tried to block brave women marching for the right to vote. And today we mark the swearing in of the first woman in American history, elected for national office Vice President Kamala Harris. Don't tell me things can't change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER (on camera): President Biden hailing the historic inauguration of his Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman to hold that office as well as the first woman of color being both black and South Asian.
At tonight's inaugural concert, Vice President Harris herself paid tribute to the country's march forward saying, quote, we see not only what has been, but what can be. I want to bring in Arlette Saenz now who covers the Biden White House. Arlette, you have some information about the letter that former Vice President Mike Pence left for the new Vice President.
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): That's right, Jake. Vice President Kamala Harris has not yet read that letter that her predecessor, former Vice President Mike Pence left for her over at the White House. But she is expected to read it tomorrow in her West Wing office.
Now, Harris, after making history as the first woman to become Vice President, including the first black woman and first woman of South Asian descent, she spent much of the day away from the White House.
She went up to Capitol Hill, swore in three new Senators, and then you saw her over at the Lincoln Memorial this evening giving the first remarks as Vice President where she talked about how there is an American aspiration. She delivered that speech just a few feet from where Dr. Martin Luther King gave his I have a dream speech.
And tomorrow Vice President Harris will be getting right to work over at the White House. And one thing that she will be navigating in these coming days is how to work with her new partner, Joe Biden, President Biden. Biden has long talked about how he was looking for a Vice President who would follow the same model and have the same type of relationship that he had with President Obama when he served as Vice President.
So that is something that will play out over these -- the course of these weeks and months as both the Vice President Harris and President Biden get to work together.
TAPPER: All right, Arlette, thank you so much. I appreciate it. And you know, we have been really just commemorating the importance of this moment, the first female Vice President in this country, and we've talked a lot about how she is also the first black woman.
But we haven't talked as much about the fact that the Asian community, the Asian American community, in particular the South Asian community, Indian-Americans, Pakistani-Americans are really rejoicing. She's actually, Kamala Harris, the Indian-American side of her, her mom was an immigrant from India, was a big part of her culture growing up.
PHILLIP: Yes, absolutely. She was raised largely by her mother and went back to India as a child to visit her extended family. She talks about her aunties who she calls her titis [ph]. This is something that is at the core of her family and of her life.
And her mother really worked very hard to preserve both sides of their identity, I say they, Kamala Harris and her sister Maya Harris. They were raised to both understand their Indian heritage. She's a big cook, Kamala Harris is. She loves cooking food, talks about --
TAPPER: Sunday night feast.
PHILLIP: -- spices, yes, keeping her spices the way that her mother did, you know, in containers in her kitchen. But also her -- you know, the black part of her, the Caribbean part of her, her father from Jamaica where she also spent some time as a child, these are both parts of her life that her mother tried to cultivate in her community in Berkeley in the time that they spent in Canada.
And also in the time that she spent here in Washington at Howard University where she attended the historically Black College. So in a very unique way, Kamala Harris is someone who very much, you know, kind of lives in all of these identities that she is, and so all of these people across the country and across the world celebrating that I think is, you know, it's an authentic thing because, you know, she really does sort of lean into all of those identities at once.
TAPPER: Yes, I don't know if you're Twitter and your dms and texts are the same as mine, but I was just today, a friend of mine, Christina who is of Taiwanese heritage, although American, said don't forget the south Asian part. Don't forget the south Asian part.
We're having fun, too, we are rejoicing too. There's going to be lots of time to talk about the politics of Vice President Harris, but we can take a moment and acknowledge the importance of representation.
BASH: Yes, and our friend Paul talks about that a lot as well. I mean, look. That is a huge thing, and then also just the gender. I mean, this is -- there are so many firsts, but, you know, one of them is the fact that she is the first female Vice President.
and I've gotten texts from people who were disappointed that the first female president didn't happen four years ago, saying that they were watching today with their daughters and their sons, but in particular their daughters were saying, OK, we have, you know, a woman who is in national elected office for the very first time, and that is a very, very big deal.
And she's coming from a place, United States Senate, where there was a growing number of women, about a quarter of the Senate finally was filled with women. But that was still only 25 percent of the Senate. Now she's -- you know, she's the person.
I mean, it's a completely different job and she clearly -- I mean, you know this, Abby, and you talked to her about this. I know, I did in an interview over the summer about her approach to it. And it really is an embrace of the fact that she is breaking barriers with her gender.
TAPPER (on camera): There's something that happened earlier today that we didn't get a chance to talk about, but I would like to take a moment now. The inaugural parade reunited the band, the new radicals, which you may or may not have heard of for the first time in 22 years.
They performed their 1998 hit single you only get what you give during the campaign. It was the hand-picked walk-on song for the now second gentleman Doug Emhoff. But the song also has a deep connection with the Biden family.
President Biden wrote in his 2017 autobiography that it was a rally song for his son Beau. Beau Biden during his battle with cancer. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Don't let go, you've got the music in you. Don't give up, you've got a reason to live, can't forget we only get what we give --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER (on camera): So that's the band, The New Radicals. They reunited just to sing this song. There's a part in President Biden's book, "Promise Me, Dad" with a lot of it deals with the death of his son Beau. There is a chapter that President Biden's daughter Ashley writes. I just want to read a little bit of it to you guys if it's OK.
She writes about how she had the tragic privilege of going with Beau to his chemo appointment. This is towards the end of Beau's life. During breakfast he would often make me listen to what I thought was his theme song, "You Get What You Give" by The New Radicals. Even though Beau never stop fighting and his will to live was stronger than most. I think he knew that this day might come, the day that he died. The words to the song are, this whole damn world could fall apart, you'll be OK, follow your heart. You're in harm's way, I'm right behind.
And Ashley writes, in retrospect I think Beau played that song during our mornings together not for him, but for -- to not give up or let sadness consume me, consume us.
So, even though it's kind of perhaps to many people an obscure band and an obscure song from the '90s, it was very meaningful, I'm sure, to President Biden and to Ashley Biden.
PHILLIP: And in so many ways, Beau Biden is so interwoven in so much of the things that we have seen around this inauguration and in everything that Joe Biden does. I mean anybody who knows Joe Biden knows his love for his children, but particularly the way that he saw his future in Beau Biden.
I think that's probably the best way that I could put it. That he saw Beau Biden as the successor to his legacy in Delaware and even on a national scale and it wasn't realized, and that family, so tight-knit, is still mourning the loss of someone who was incredibly precious to them.
BASH: That's such an important story. I'm so glad you shared that. And the fact that group came back together to sing that song. And obviously, we had this song, Cold Play, that music during -- at the end of the convention. These are songs that meant a lot to Beau Biden. Obviously, he was a lover of music or at least a genre of music, music that clearly sent messages.
And that story and that passage you read from Ashley (ph) is a reminder of what the now president talks about a lot, which is that his son was most worried about the people he was leaving behind, including his father. And he didn't want his father to give up.
And that he kept that idea, that notion with him as he decided to embark on what was a very unlikely journey in this run for the presidency after he and everybody around him thought he had retired and he had given up on that dream. And here he is going to sleep in the building behind you.
TAPPER: Yeah, what a special thing for that band to do, to reunite --
TAPPER: -- for the Biden family.
Coming up, we just got President Joe Biden's schedule. We'll tell you what he's doing tomorrow when our special coverage continues next. Stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [23:35:00]
TAPPER: Welcome back to our coverage of the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.
I want to bring back CNN chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins. Kaitlan, you just got President Biden's schedule for tomorrow, his first full day in office as president.
I imagine it's a little bit busier than what we have been reading, this -- the former president's schedule, the president -- something what they used to write. The president will be making many phone calls and doing the people's business, some filler like that?
COLLINS: Many calls and many meetings. That is what the president -- the former president dictated to be his schedule basically every day since the election. And we were told that was because he was irritated that people were pointing out he didn't have anything on his schedule. He was trying to overturn those results.
But looking ahead to what is happening now with the new president, with President Biden, we did just get a look at his first full day tomorrow. We already saw him signing executive orders today. But this doesn't really give you a window into what his priorities are going to be early on.
And he is starting the morning kind of like how this entire day went, such a different inauguration, and it's going to be a virtual inaugural prayer service that he's going to participate in. That's going to be both the first and second families that you'll see in that virtual event tomorrow morning.
But then after that, we see the work begin, and that includes receiving the president's daily brief. That's something that we didn't always see President Trump get. That's intelligence briefing basically around the world, what they need to be concerned about that day.
And so something that will be interesting is, of course, Joe Biden already received this before when he was President Obama's vice president, you know, what format does he like to take it in? Does he read it on an iPad? Does he prefer to be briefed in person, read it on his own? That's something that we'll wait to find out, Jake.
But then after then, he is goig to deliver more remarks on coronavirus. He is expected to sign some executive orders during that meeting while he is talking what their response is going to look like. We will find out maybe if he is going to be using the Defense Production Act to help with vaccine distribution which, of course, has been pretty slow in the United States.
And then after that, the vice president and the president are going to get a briefing from the members of their coronavirus advisory team. We'll see what kind of a role Dr. Anthony Fauci plays in that. And the day will culminate with a press briefing around 4:00 p.m., Jake.
TAPPER: And Kaitlan, as we've been discussing now for two months, the Trump administration was historically uncooperative with the Biden transition team, not allowing the transition to begin, not agreeing to meetings, et cetera.
Tomorrow, the Biden team will get their first full look at the state of the vaccine production and distribution plan, and we'll get details on how they intend to use the Defense Production Act. What else might we learn?
COLLINS: Well, that's a big question that I think is still -- some officials who were on their way in today, it was a big unknown for them, because you saw where recently the Trump administration said, actually, we agree, we're not going to hold any of those coronavirus vaccines, we're going to release them all, and then we found out the reserve was virtually empty.
And so I think it's something like that that they're concerned about, that they don't have really a full picture of what it's going to look like, because there was often not even transparency among the president, President Trump's Coronavirus Task Force team over what the state was, because, of course, certain people have certain roles. They would talk about it, they would express confidence, and then it always wouldn't pan out. That happened a lot with testing, we heard from sources at the time.
So, I think that's one big thing we are going to potentially learn from the Biden officials tomorrow.
And you heard Jen Psaki, the new press secretary, say today that they are not going to hold back and be hesitant on saying things, presenting data and facts to the American people, just because it's hard to hear, given that we are living in this pandemic. People are tired of living the way we are. They were basically saying they are not going to sugarcoat it because they feel that the Trump administration did that too many times to the American people.
TAPPER: All right. Kaitlan Collins at the White House, thanks so much.
Our special coverage continues. Next, we're going to look at some of the highlights from the inauguration of Joe Biden, the 46th president of the United States, as well as Vice President Harris. Stay with. We'll squeeze in this quick break and we'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That I will well and faithfully discharge -- UNKNOWN: The duties of the office on which I am about to enter.
HARRIS: The duties of the office upon which I am about to enter.
UNKNOWN: So help me God.
HARRIS: So help me God.
UNKNOWN: All right.
AMANDA GORMAN, AMERICAN POET: While democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated. In this truth, in this faith, we trust. For while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Preserve, protect, and defend.
UNKNOWN: The Constitution of the United States.
BIDEN: The Constitution of the United States.
UNKNOWN: So help you God.
BIDEN: So help me God.
UNKNOWN: Congratulations, Mr. President.
BIDEN: Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy. We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue. My whole soul is in this, bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause. I will be a president for all Americans, all Americans.
BIDEN: And I promise you, I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did. May God bless America, and may God protect our troops. Thank you, America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER (on camera): The end of a historic day in Washington, D.C. Evan Osnos, as you look back on the day, what stands out?
EVAN OSNOS, BIDEN BIOGRAPHER: You know, I'm struck by the fact that Joe Biden got into this race almost two years ago with an idea that a lot of smart political observers and analysts and reporters thought it didn't make any sense.
They said it's never really going to work to tell Americans that you're here to heal their souls. That's fuzzy. We're in an angry time. People want division. They want some bold declaration of how you're going to be different from everybody else. And he stuck with it, and he was committed to this idea.
And what you saw all the way forward to today was that there is an imprint of Joe Biden's basic beliefs about how politics can work and how society can work. It's not always going to work that way. He's not always going to get his way by any means. We're probably going to see that starting tomorrow. But there is a character to his politics that shapes how he started, and it was on display today.
AXELROD: Yeah, that was so -- you're so right. I mean, what was striking wasn't just his remarks, but how thoroughly integrated the spirit of his remarks were into everything else we saw today.
And that is a really hard thing to do. Having been involved in these things, carrying through a message through an entire day of programs, getting the symbolism right, getting the casting right, getting the music right, getting it all pointing in one direction is very, very hard to do. And they did it.
I mean, this really reflected him, his message. And you have to look at the day in totality. I think it was a great success.
BORGER: It's not just the day. It started yesterday. And this is pure Joe Biden because it was to heal, you must remember, and that is how we heal, right? It started with the COVID memorial. And then it moved right on through a change in tone, a change in temperament, and certainly a change in policy as we see these executive actions coming fast and furious tonight.
And they know Joe Biden. They've been with him, his staff, for decades, a lot of them. They understand who he is, and they know what he wants because he hasn't veered off of this for the last 40 years.
So we've been through so much these last couple of weeks, insurrection, impeachment, inaugural, change and control of the Senate. But for some reason, today seemed sort of stable.
JONES: Yeah. Look, I think, you know --
JONES: And that gives a way forward, too. In other words, you have the character of the man. You also have the character of the movement that he's inspired. And I think that his challenge is going to be to do two things at once. He's got to deal with the inside politics. He can be a dealmaker. He can talk to McConnell. But he and McConnell by themselves cannot fix this country. I don't care how good the relationship is. I don't care how smart they are. It's the people who he discovered. There was a wellspring of goodwill out there that everybody else had missed, including myself, that he has tapped into. He's got to keep feeding that. It's going to be the character of the man and the character of the movement.
The one thing he can learn from Donald Trump, Donald Trump uniquely saw himself as a movement leader who happened to be head of state. He never stopped leading his movement. Biden needs to be a great head of state, but also keep leading this movement of good people.
OSNOS: You know, tomorrow, there's going to be the official inaugural prayer service, which Kaitlan mentioned earlier. And the homily is going to come from Reverend William Barber, one of the great civil rights leaders.
COOPER: Of our time.
OSNOS: And I interviewed him yesterday. He said, you know, the key message for us all to be thinking about is the hope is in mourning, the process of mourning. He doesn't just mean mourning for those we've lost. He said mourning for the gaps in our health care, mourning for the need to raise a living wage, mourning for the problems that we can't solve.
And there is -- there is something powerful that unifies essentially the spiritual intent and now it's the functional political moment.
OSNOS: How do you get these things done?
JONES: And the thing about it is, one thing I saw online which I think is so beautiful is, you know, that mourning character, the fact that he's had to struggle, Biden, they said, in the end, America chose the boy who stuttered over the bully.
JONES: The boy who stuttered over the bully.
BORGER: That's right.
JONES: That's the whole of it right there. Sometimes, nice guys finished first.
BORGER: And what we saw was the new president clearly is energized by empathy. That is so important, reaching out to people.
BORGER: The -- our past president gets his energy from adulation, from vengeance, from grievance. This is completely the opposite of that.
AXELROD: Can I ask Evan a question? I want to take advantage of the fact that you're not just an expert on Joe Biden, but you're quite an expert on China, where you spent a great deal of time and you've written about it.
How -- if you're sitting over there in Beijing and for that matter in the rest of the world, but particularly China, how did they view today?
OSNOS: You know, they're looking at today and they're saying we spent the last few years beginning to believe that the United States had lost its mojo. It had lost that internal coherence. It had lost its willingness to invest in its relationships around the world. America first sounded like America alone. And from China's perspective, that was a great gift.
In Chinese, these last few years has been called the period of strategic opportunity. When I was in Beijing not long ago, I asked a strategist there who is close to the government. I said, well, how long does that last? He said it lasts as long as Donald Trump is in office. So we're now entering a new phase in America's relationship with China.
JONES: And what that means is the big winner today, democracy, big winner today.
COOPER: Just ahead, the spectacular fireworks show that lit up the Washington sky tonight. You do not want to miss it. We'll be right back.
COOPER (on camera): It has been an incredible day in so many ways in Washington. But our coverage is not done yet. Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon are going to pick it up from here. As we leave you this hour, we want to show you the historic ending of tonight's presidential inauguration celebration, a performance and fireworks show truly like no other from an inauguration like no other in our history.
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