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Biden Promises to be a President for all Americans; Dems Control Senate with 50-50 Split; President Joe Biden Signs 17 Executive Orders; Three Former Presidents Honor Biden in a Video Message; Biden Pledges to be President to All Americans. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired January 21, 2021 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: We need it today. I don't care who you voted for. I don't care what your politics are. We are in a bad place and we needed to remember that we can be better with another, with each other and get to a better place.
And that's what today was, Americans showcasing the resilience of democracy. Our new president says democracy prevailed. I don't know. I think it survived. But we are all fighting to move past the last four years and to push towards something better.
And President Joe Biden proudly told Americans at his inaugural address, that we're going to get to a better place but we're going to do it together. Enjoy our continuing live coverage of the inauguration of President Biden. Chris Cuomo with the one and only D. Lemon.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: You're stuck with us. And that music was just for us. It's like hail to the chief, right? Every time --
CUOMO: Uh, yes. As well it should be, I think.
LEMON: Let me walk around and walk into a room, they're going to play the horns.
CUOMO: They should play that but there should be a little scratching --
LEMON: There should be (inaudible).
CUOMO: Yes, because, you know, we're cool cats.
LEMON: What a day for Americans to be proud of. There you go. Thank you. That's our theme music.
CUOMO: A day of historic proportion that didn't involve tragedy.
CUOMO: Rare these days. LEMON: First on our history. The vice president of the United States is a woman, and is a woman of color. I've got one word, and that is, Wow! Right? Kamala Harris spending her first night as vice president right now.
And the new Biden-Harris team wasting no time, Mr. Cuomo, getting right down to work after taking time, out to celebrate. They're doing it fast.
CUOMO: Yes. And I'll tell you what.
LEMON: They had to. I don't think they had a choice.
CUOMO: They don't have a choice. We're in a crisis. And today was not reality. Today was about promise, two levels. One, them promising to be different and better. We need that. And also the promise of what we can be in this country.
We're not just our worst, you know. That's what we've been bathed in for the last for years, is this kind of unrelenting dirge of just how angry and opposite everybody is. But we are in the middle of a pandemic and it was interesting to see how Biden kind of walked through a political field today, with his executive orders.
LEMON: Minefield or just a field?
CUOMO: Well, I don't say minefield because a lot of these things are righteous causes. We've talked to you about them earlier --
LEMON: Let's talk about the ones that we talked. There are two that I want to talk about.
LEMON: Do you want to go through what they are?
CUOMO: Go through them fast.
LEMON: Rejoined Paris Climate Agreement. We talked about -- rejoined the World Health Organization, install coronavirus response coordinator, cancelled Keystone XL Pipeline, include non-citizens in census, mask mandate on federal property, halted funding for Trump's border wall, reversed travel ban targeting largely Muslim communities, resuming regular -- okay -- and then we went to pause some deportation for 100 days.
So we talked about most of those in the last hour. These two I think are really important because they rescinded that 1776 commission, right, which came at the last minute, which was in response to --
CUOMO: The "Times," the 1619.
LEMON: -- the "Times" 1619 project that the White House and some, you know, I don't know if it was Trumplicans or what you call re- Trumplicans, got so upset about, I'm not sure if it's all conservatives. But I thought that was a big thing. As soon as at noon when they took over the White House, the Biden ministration took it right down off the website, rescinded that 1776 Commission, which really talked about that multiculturalism and diversity wasn't so great really for the country, is what it was saying --
LEMON: -- which is just outrageous.
CUOMO: And there was this suggestion in it that something, which they're talking about the political left, "The New York Times," 1619, the media.
CUOMO: That the founding of this country on equality when they knew they had slavery.
CUOMO: And they knew that it was inherently not being applied to all.
LEMON: They try to downplay slavery saying it's happened over the history (inaudible).
CUOMO: That's exactly right. They said, look, sad to tell you but it wasn't just us. It's more the rule than the exception and you take people at their time.
LEMON: But also I got to say that -- we will talk about it and I'm going to discuss with the panel as well on this, is they're bringing back resuming regular press briefings.
LEMON: I think that's really important that we saw normalcy tonight. And listen, I know that Ryan Lizza said early we shouldn't be giving people gold stars for - we're not doing it. And of course the press, we are going to hold the Biden administration to account, that's our jobs, that's what we do. But what they could have done they didn't. They could have said, well, they, you know, they set a precedent.
CUOMO: They could've done nothing.
LEMON: Yes. They set a precedent. You're not giving regular press briefings. You know, they kept --
CUOMO: Wait for us to demand them and then they could offer them then. They could have bought themselves time.
CUOMO: But look, I'll give them a gold star and tell you why. One of the problems we have now is that you are not overwhelmed with information that is the same no matter where you go. That's a problem. And I'm not just talking about the numbers of cases, okay?
CUOMO: Because I know you get numb to that. And I think every day they do the briefing, every day you hear the numbers and all the major media, and they get tested on those numbers every day, you will build up your own library of understanding of what's going on and you will have a better feel for the decisions they make.
LEMON: Let's see if some really smart folks agree with us or disagree with us or what they want to talk about now. I want to bring in Bakari Sellers, Scott Jennings, S.E. Cupp here to discuss all of it. Hello everyone. How are you doing?
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good evening.
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hi, Don.
S.E. CUPP, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hi.
LEMON: You guys are doing well. So Bakari, what did you think about today and all, you know, we talked about the young lady who read the poem. We talked about the young man who Biden has a relationship with who is a stutterer. I mean, we're seeing excellence among young people and we're seeing a first among -- a first for a black woman to be the vice president of the United States. What did you think of the day?
SELLERS: I mean it was a lot. It was very well organized. It was planned very well. I mean, I felt a little bit like Chris did earlier and saying that I was on edge because of what we just saw two weeks ago in the capital.
And you had more troops in Washington, D.C. than you have deployed in some areas overseas. And so it was just that level of angst, but I first felt this sense of pride when I saw Michelle Obama get out of the car, right. And she was wearing that Sergio Hudson --
LEMON: Sergio Hudson.
SELLERS: I thought of cranberry. I got (inaudible). It was actually -- it was actually plum. You saw George W. Bush. You saw --
LEMON: Bill Clinton.
SELLERS: You saw Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. And you just saw -- and I don't really want to return to normalcy because there are a lot of people suffering under normalcy. But you saw people not abused --
LEMON: But there is a new normal. There is a new normal, Bakari.
SELLERS: Yes, but you saw people not trample on -- you saw people not trample on the constitution. You saw people not trample on tradition. You saw something that was familiar. And although we were turning the page from the chaos, I just felt so warm today because today felt like a new day. I mean the press briefing was boring as hell, and that was refreshing.
LEMON: I disagree!
SELLERS: We didn't have to count -- we didn't have to count how many lies Jen Psaki was telling. We didn't have to get up there and hear her talking about the largest crowd size or yelling at the media. She didn't answer every question, I mean, that's kind of normal for press briefings. But she was up there and she gave standard answers and she moved out the way and said we'll be back tomorrow to answer whatever questions we have.
And so there was a good mixture of tradition and history with Kamala Harris. There was beauty. There was pageantry. There was the town of young people. There was everything that is America on display today.
LEMON: So S.E., I've got to say I felt the exact opposite of what Bakari and Chris felt in the sense that I wasn't nervous about, oh my gosh, what's going to happen next. It was sort of, okay, the adults are back in the room.
LEMON: It was the exact opposite of what I felt when that helicopter took off when the Obama's left. There was this sense of dread, like, oh my god, there are no adults in charge --
LEMON: -- and no people with experience. So as soon as that plane took off and my way, I was like, goodbye. And then immediately the picture went to the Bidens at the church, and I was like, okay fine, nap time.
LEMON: Am I wrong?
CUPP: No, I mean, after all the ceremony was done, I actually, I was looking to the chat (ph). I watched "Grease 2" for an hour and then like took a nap.
CUPP: It was, you know, it just became like a normal day. But I will say what I was captured by today was the patriotism which is sort of a catchall for things. And over the past couple of decades, Republicans really hijacked what that meant, what a patriot looked like.
And it was nativist in jingoist and sort of empty kind of sloganeering. You know, Sarah Palin used to refer to real Americans versus everyone else. And of course, Trump co-opted patriotism to mean, loyalty to him. That was being patriotic.
And I saw Joe Biden yank that back today. And in a way that I haven't seen Democrats do before. Democrats, you know, for a long time and for good reason, would point out American inequities, American injustice. And Republicans would say see, they don't love America wrongly.
Today, I think Joe Biden showed what's true patriotism looks like. A love of country and loving America means loving Americans.
And I think, you know, he really went out of his way to talk about how much he loves Americans, even the ones who didn't vote for him. Trump did not love Americans. Trump lied to a lot of Americans. Trump hurt a lot of Americans. Trump defined a lot of Americans as enemies of the people.
And so I saw this new patriotism from Joe Biden and I thought it was so sincere and earnest and I love this version of it. And I think this is -- I hope this is, you know, a version of patriotism that we can all get behind, loving Americans not just the idea of America.
LEMON: Yes. Scott, I want to ask you about, you know, because everyone is saying, you know, this is -- it's a new thing. Today was about contrasts. It was about a new normal, a normalcy. But you also had former presidents of the United States who made it their business. They wanted to be there. They wanted to show support for a new administration.
And I think in many ways say, you know, just try to help push what happened over the past four or five years really out of the way and say, we have to be careful about not returning to that. It's okay if you want to elect a Republican president or a Democratic president. We've got to be careful about who we choose to be in the White House and the leader of the world going forward.
JENNINGS: I thought the appearance of the ex-presidents today and then their participation at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier was quite striking. You know, of course, I'm impartial to President Bush because I worked for him.
But I think having a bipartisan group of ex-presidents there and then they made their video which was pretty special as well, did send a very strong and powerful message. You know, in the past, some presidents have drawn on their predecessors to help them with things.
Donald Trump did not really, I think, draw on former presidents the way he could have. And really, in his campaign, when he was elected in 2016, savaged presidents of both parties. I mean, he once accused George W. Bush of perpetrating 9/11. And he of course had many bad things to say about Barack Obama.
So, I think under a Biden administration, if he winds up drawing on the expertise of these former presidents and he winds up putting his arms around them and giving them things to do that helps unify the country that will be a terrific thing.
I think all these people have had something to offer and they have some trust and capital with the American people and that can help build unity in the country.
LEMON: Chris, you want to add something?
CUMOMO: You know who should be drawing on George W. Bush?
CUOMO: Mitch McConnell because, you know, the threat to Biden is not Biden. The threat to Biden is not his progressive wing at least not yet. The threat to Biden are McConnell and McCarthy. They came in there, they said the right things today, and I know McConnell said, you know, yesterday that the mob had been fed lies. You know, you should have said it when it happened.
LEMON: How long did it take him to do that?
CUOMO: Same thing with the election. He should have said it then. But McCarthy, we got no reason to believe in him. And Scott, my question is, do you really believe that the enablers who are still there, Hawley, who just held up a pick for no good reason.
CUOMO: That they really want things to be any different than they were or they are just dying for a chance to investigate Hunter Biden?
JENNINGS: I think some of the Republicans who voted against the first nomination tonight or doing so for personal, political ambition reasons. I mean, it's quite obvious what their game is. But I actually though overall it was a pretty strong bipartisan vote.
And I do believe Mitch McConnell, who by the way does have a genuine friendship with Joe Biden. When he says that they're going to be areas where they can work together, that doesn't mean Republicans are going to roll over for every Democratic idea nor do I think it means Joe Biden is going to roll over for every idea that Mitch McConnell throws out there.
But I do think it means you have two guys who know each other, who trust each other, and know how to get something done. Joe Biden knows how, frankly, a bill becomes a law which is not something Donald Trump ever really figured out after four years.
And that matters because Joe Biden knows the dynamics of a Senate. He knows how things happen in Congress. He knows what's within the realm of the possible. And that could be, you know, that's an important ingredient.
Also, do not underestimate the importance of predictability. With Trump as president, republicans got a lot if things done, but there was always this unpredictability. Trump would say his position is ex (ph) and then it would become why. He would say he would sign this and then he said he wouldn't sign. He would say he wanted this and then he would change it at the last minute.
Unpredictability can derail a lot of legislation. If you look at the executive orders, today Biden did something on DACA and he shut down the wall. Remember, Donald Trump once had Democrats talked into $25 billion for the wall and a deal that would have fixed the dreamers issue and he couldn't close the deal.
JENNINGS: He winds up going in alone on executive orders himself, and now another president is undoing it because he couldn't pass a law and instead relied on executive action. Elections have consequences, and so does not understanding how a bill becomes a law.
So, I think, you know, as we look at this transition, we could look back and say what went wrong in the Trump years and what could go right in the Biden, years if people just understood basically how does a bill become a law. How do people work together to put things in the law books.
LEMON: Scott, you took the words right out of my mouth. We've all been doing it wrong. The media, the people who are trying to get the word across to Trump on the television. All we had to do was play "Schoolhouse Rock" videos. I'm just a bill, yes, I'm only a bill until they vote for me on Capitol Hill, and then I'm off. For the president to sign. That was -- I know, you think I'm nuts.
CUOMO: No, I don't at all.
LEMON: But it's true. He's right.
CUOMO: No. I just don't think that was the problem.
LEMON: Well, that's what -- I think was the problem.
CUOMO: The problem --
LEMON: If he's saying he didn't understand -- he didn't have understanding about government (inaudible).
CUOMO: Yes. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. It's not a civics class. The problem was that he was enabled. And the only thing that will make it different now is if people like Scott Jennings, but really on a chorus level, like a Greek chorus level, tell the people in their party who are in power, that they expect better.
CUOMO: And to call them out when they're not better. And they're not immediately say, well, you guys do the same thing on us.
LEMON: But also -
CUOMO: If you police your own party, we'll be in a better place.
LEMON: And on that note, when you talk about unity, you just have to remember that yes, we should be unifying, there should be talks of unity. But just remember over the past, and S.E. and Bakari, I know you all agree with this. When everyone say we need to unify, tone down the rhetoric, right, Democrats and Republicans need to come together.
Republicans enabled this president to say the most vile things, to divide people for years. And so now all of a sudden because there's a Democratic administration, you want to talk unity? Okay, that's all well and good, but why didn't you do it for the past for four or five years?
And I think those questions need to be answered and this panel will come back, throughout this broadcast and will try to answer those questions, all right. So standby everyone.
President Biden hasn't been in office 24 hours but he's already facing pushback from Congress. Why couldn't he get any cabinet nominees through before the swearing in? A White House cabinet veteran, Rob Reich, well, he's going to join us to look at the fight the new president faces on the Hill. That's next.
CUOMO: President Biden is going to get right to work on his first day in office and he has to. Seventeen executive actions, talking to congressional leaders about approving his cabinet, he's not having great luck there.
The Senate has only confirmed one Biden nominee officially and it was approving Avril Haines as director of National Intelligence, hours after the inauguration. Why the stall? I think the obvious answer is the state of play. What's behind it? How can it get better?
Let's talk to a real expert of policy in politics. Former labor secretary, Robert Reich. Good to see you sir.
ROBERR REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT CLINTON: We'll get to see you too. You know, it was a very uplifting wonderful day. I share the panel's kind of -- and your kind of sense of positivity. But having been there, having been in the trenches and having watched carefully over the last four, six, eight years, I can tell you Joe Biden is going to have a very, very hard time. Even though technically, the Democrats are in control of both Houses in Congress.
CUOMO: Let me ask you something, Rob. If this is just a hypothetical as a fantasyland, if you are allowed to be king for three months and you can do whatever you want and print your own money, even still, do you believe you could get out of the way of the massive problems that Biden faces?
REICH: No. You couldn't simply do it simply by printing money. What you could do and I think what Biden does need to do is get that $1.9 trillion bill, stimulus bill through Congress, and then go on to move Congress to do something even more dramatic in terms of getting everybody jobs, getting the unemployment rate down below 3 percent. And that you see starts to have actually repercussions on wages. When unemployment gets below 3 percent, wages start to rise. And I'm talking about real unemployment, not just the thick (ph) --
CUOMO: Do we have Robert Reich or did we lose him?
LEMON: A little frozen.
CUOMO: All right. If you can get Secretary Reich back, we'll keep talking.
LEMON: But he speaks of -- he speaks of what he knows from experience.
CUOMO: Well, he is an economic expert. To be sure, you know, wages, again, my question for him, which we'll ask if we get him back is how, because the right doesn't like that. They see it as wage stabilization as socialism.
You're giving people a fixed amount of income. The market has to decide that. And the classic and Keynesian economic pushback has always been, but you don't do that on the corporate side.
CUOMO: You have bankruptcy laws for them.
CUOMO: You saved them in 2008, 2009. By the, guess who was against that? Trump.
CUOMO: That was when he used to say Wall Street is not an indicator of Main Street. Now, that's all he's got, is Wall Street.
LEMON: -- Wall Street.
CUOMO: So, what does that tell you? That they will shift and the question becomes how do you get Republicans to do any of these things? And then say, well, Biden and McConnell are friends. I don't buy it.
LEMON: Well, people always talk about the, you know, this is socialism and of course, people should be able to earn a living wage in this country. And listen, politically you can debate about how to be --
CUOMO: They say no. They use you have a right to pay -- to make what I'll pay you.
LEMON: But people don't do the same argument when they call that socialism, when we talk about the roads that the truckers that, you know, Trump talked about so much. The roads that truckers drive, on the people -- socialism. Talking about public schools that people go to, that's socialism.
There are many things in this society, in American society that are socialist.
CUOMO: They're socialistic.
LEMON: But it's socialist, but it's for the good of everyone. It helps the country. It helps everyone. So, the question is, having a living wage, is that part of the good for everyone? I would say yes. Now, you can decide how we -- I think it's up to lawmakers in America to decide how they want to do it, right, and how much they want to do it.
Now, I do think that earning $15 an hour in, let's say my hometown, Baton Rouge or in New Orleans. It's quite different than earning $15 an hour in New York City because in New York City, $15 an hour doesn't go --
CUOMO: Thirty grand a year is not going to get you to make anything (ph).
LEMON: It's not going to get you anything when you're paying thousands of dollars a year -- thousands of dollars a month to live in a one bedroom apartment.
CUOMO: Right. Look, I just think that the reality, and again, today was aspirational and we need it. We absolutely need it. You have to believe in the best of yourself in order to get anywhere. But I just think that we can't make any mistake about the state of play and the tension.
We have Secretary Reich back. So, secretary, what I was going to ask you and thank you for being patient, is how does he get any of that done when not only do you have the re-Trumplicans in there, you know, the hard-core fringe right enablers of Trump, but a party, who has never wanted to do any of these things, let alone when you have such an almost nonexistent advantage in the Senate?
REICH: Well, besides executive orders and all of the things they can do under regulations, I think that moving a very large and bold piece of legislation is going to be easier for Joe Biden than doing a lot of smaller things, and I'll tell you why.
Because the country wants change and movement and people want better jobs. People can see from the coronavirus how flimsy our system is, how dysfunctional it is in so many ways. And so by moving something that is big and ambitious, what you're signaling to all of the Republicans and even some of the conservative Democrats, you're saying I really believe in the future of this country.
We are going to make major investments in infrastructure, for example. We're going to make major investments in the (inaudible) in green technologies. We're going to actually have a set of policy in this country that provide paid sick leave and help everybody. If you really do it big and boldly and sell it as part of the future
of this country, as investments in the future, you can start getting people behind you. You can start getting people to mobilize and organize. The biggest problem I think that somebody in Joe Biden's position might be tempted to do would be to take a kind of flabby middle of the road position. I'm not saying Joe Biden would do this. But a kind of a timid position because the Republicans are so intransigent.
CUOMO: Signals stinks. All right, Secretary Reich, I don't know if I still have you, but your point is well taken and I appreciate it. It will be an interesting calculation to see with balancing get us -- getting us through the heavy part of the pandemic.
And when you start to trigger those economic initiatives, it will be an interesting balance and act for Biden and I'm sure we'll have the secretary on to discuss it again.
We have some other big guest coming up. Former Obama campaign manager will be joining us here this early Thursday morning. The new American president, Biden. It is Thursday now, sure, all day.
President Biden has to convince Trump voters that they're going to be part of this. Unity, do we really need unity in a country so divided or we just need a combination of progress? We discuss, next.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: President Biden calling for unity and healing in a divided nation in his inaugural address. That may be a tall order in a country where millions of people mistakenly doubt that he is the legitimate winner of this election.
So let's bring it in Jim Messina. Jim Messina is a former campaign manager for President Barack Obama. Got to see his boss again today.
Good evening sir, or good morning, good to see you Jim. How are you doing?
JIM MESSINA, FORMER OBAMA CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I'm doing excellent, Don. How are you doing?
LEMON: I'm Great. So let's pick up where Chris and Robert Reich left off, ok. I want to focus on the economy.
So Biden not only has to focus on COVID and the economy but he's got to focus on unity. Today was a great start as far as a gesture of inclusion but we still got a very, very long way to go, there's lots of work to do.
MESSINA: There really is. But it's what's the American people both want and need. Job one of Joe Biden -- the rationale behind Joe Biden's candidacy, Don was that he could bring the country and he could heal some of these dividing lines and can actually get back to the block and tackling of running a normal government.
You know, I do a lot of work in European politics now and I was on The BBC today and the anchor said Jim after four years of the craziness of Donald Trump, is America going to be bored with Joe Biden?
And I just started laughing and I said yes, we want boring. Boring would be fine after what we had just had. We'd take boring, absolutely.
the but, you know, the inherent tension about the decisions this White House is going to make is the difference between Robert Reich and me, right?
When I was growing up in politics I worshipped Secretary Reich. I read everything Bob has ever done. And I could not disagree anymore with what he just said.
And this is the fundamental tension of the Democratic Party is going to face in the next year because what he wants to do throughout and propose big things that Republicans will never agree to. We have a tied U.S. senate 50/50. I worked in the last tied U.S. senate 20 years ago, we can talk all about that
Nancy Pelosi has the smallest majority since World War II. And the American public just unseated only the third incumbent president in 100 years but gave Republicans more seats in the house and Democrats didn't do as well as expected in the Senate.
I think with that message is, is that they just want congress to work together. I agree with Mr. Cuomo, it's not going to be easy. We're not going to hold hands and run naked into the river with the Republicans but if we can just pass appropriation bills, if we can just get some normal things done and most importantly agree on a shared sense of facts, and agree with what the actual science is behind some of these decisions Joe Biden would be a successful president just by doing those two things.
LEMON: Ok so let me ask you, because -- I'm not sure if I've asked you this before what I've asked a number of folks who were on. Because the last time, you know, when Republicans won the White House they said you should listen to us, right? You should listen to the unheard Trump voters. We had so many panels about, you know, what the Trump voters and the people in the Rust Belt, and the people in Trump country were.
And now they've lost and they say you should listen to us. And so they talked about unity but it seems unity means that you should come to our side. What do you think Republicans mean when they talk about unity. What's their definition.
MESSINA: Well, I hope with -- yes, I hope what they mean is what Mitch McConnell said yesterday on the floor of the U.S. Senate. If you read what he said, he said look, the country needs to find ways, common ground -- the two parties, should have to find common ground where we can agree on some basic things where each of us can compromise. A deal means both sides are not happy. You actually have to meet in the middle. And you know, when I was the White House deputy chief of staff negotiating Obamacare, negotiating the stimulus bill, we wouldn't take the President down there to negotiate the final details, Don.
We would take -- Joe Biden. Because Joe Biden could find a way to hear both sides in kind of meet in the middle. And I think that's what he's good at. And if Mitch McConnell really wants to, you know, do actual pieces of legislation which in the entire eight years of Barack Obama, he didn't. But if I believe what he says, then what the Republicans mean is actually cutting real life deals like we used to.
LEMON: Do you think that's possible though? Listen, I hope that it is but I wonder if you think if that's possible. Just today, I was you know, as I was going, dallying in and out on the inaugurations I was also reading about all these people who are being arrested, still being arrested across the country for the insurrection on the Capitol who are believing in all of these things that turned out not to be true like Mike Pence was going to be arrested.
For all of the people who are believing in election lies that it was fraudulent, that it was stolen, that they don't believe in reality. How does that work when you have a big section of a country who are not believing reality?
M1: Well, hopefully the way it works is new Republican leadership and an opposition party that actually tells the truth. You know, you and I talked about this the other night on your show. And it's kind of ironic coming from me, the guy who ran through presidential campaign against him but.
But Mitt Romney is right when he says you start by telling the truth and that is incredibly important.
And then on both sides, you need to kind of sit in the zoom, sit in a room, take down the politics and say are there things that we can do? We're going to find about these 10 things, but are there two or three things that we can actually get done? And I think if you look at what they want to do, coronavirus vaccination out faster, absolutely they can work bipartisanly.
A stimulus bill? Yes. Minimum wage increase? You have the business roundtable of all people who yesterday came out and say they want one.
I mean Those things, both parties ought to get together and get done very quickly. So I think we can do huge, you know, environmental bills and energy bills -- color me skeptical.
LEMON: Thank you, Jim. Always a pleasure, thanks for staying up later or getting up early whichever it is. We appreciate it.
MESSINA: My pleasure, see you.
LEMON: Thank you, good to see you. What do Republicans do now? They've lost control of congress but they still have plenty of power. Can they find ways to work with the president while keeping their base happy? That's a big question. We'll talk about that next.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: This may be as good as it gets for President Biden in terms of moving any agenda. I mean this is a moment. Let's see if it can create momentum.
Democratic-controlled Senate, yes but very slim. Democratic-controlled House? Yes but it's not going to be a pushover.
So what does goodwill look like at this point, this relationship with McConnell? Is that really worth investing in? Does McConnell have control of his caucus? Is the situation really going to change?
Let's discuss. Who do we have here? I'll tell you right now, you have Marc McKinnon and Max Boot. Sophisticated. Don't sleep on Marc just because of the hat. He's a lot more than the way he dresses, I'll tell you that right now.
He doesn't have the perfect shape head like Max Boot, that's why Max Boot is unadorned.
So Marc McKinnon, in terms of the idea of a better way forward. You had McCarthy there, today he showed up, said the right thing. Trump sets a low bar, you show up you get a Gold Star.
McConnell has said some things that are not popular in his caucus but he said them late. Do we have any reason to believe that what we're seeing with the appointments is at the reality of going forward which is Biden is going to meet with resistance?
MARK MCKINNON, FORMER ADVISOR TO GEORGE W. BUSH: He is Chris, but I think what we've reached a pendulum point in this country where it has swung so far. I've seen evidence in the country that people are demanding on market solution which is let's elect some new people and if they don't -- if they don't make a difference then we're going to elect some people who will.
Now, listen, you know, I'm a part of the Prisoner of Hope Caucus with Cory Booker and always see things in kind of an optimistic light.
But I'm also a realist and I know that Mitch McConnell's real goal is getting a majority back in 2022. But I think that increasingly people are going to look to, you know, the shining light out there on Profiles in courage like Liz Cheney who had finally drawn a line and instead, listen, we have stand up and say when our people violent our catch to this country, we've got to stand up and say something, in which she did by way of a 43 plus point, Trump District which is really quite incredible. So, you know, when you Liz stand up and Mitch McConnell sending signals. I think that's a good sign. I (INAUDIBLE) to see my boss George W. Bush out there, saying attaboy, go get them. We're going to be behind you all the way.>
CUOMO: I liked echoing his sentiment that he left in the letter for Obama. Again, to Biden today -- that Biden's success will be the country's success.
Max, how does the party -- how does McConnell get you back?
If they want to win a majority, they need to get real conservatives, real Republicans back in the tent. How do they do that?
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it's going to be hard to get me back, truthfully, Chris because the Republican Party has the enabled the horrors of the Trump presidency. But I think they really have to make a decision right now and I think the upcoming Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump is really going to be a trial of the Republican Party.
That's going to really tell you what is the future of the Republican Party.
Now you saw in house that you had 10 House Republicans including Liz Cheney very courageously vote to impeach Donald Trump. We know he's guilty but still 95 percent of the Caucus would not vote to impeach him. [01:44:47]
BOOT: Now the question is what are the senate Republicans going to do. And you know, Mitch McConnell on Tuesday, he came out and flatly said that it was Donald Trump who provoked the mob that stormed the Capitol. So if he believes that, he has to vote to convict and he has to take a bunch of Republicans with him.
Now, I'm not confident that we're going to get enough Republican votes to convict Donald Trump but I think it would be very significant if you got a fair number of Republican votes in the Senate because that would signal that Republicans want to turn the chapter on this dismal history. That they have been complicit in the last four years.
And if they don't I think they'll be consigning themselves to long- term intellectual and political oblivion.
CUOMO: Right. Or McConnell is saying the obvious, but he's not going to enforce that within the own caucus or he can't. So he wants of having it both ways.
Now Mark isn't the answer to Max's question really whatever the polls say? That if the polls say that people within the party are 75-25, he shouldn't be convicted that's it. It's dead.
MCKINNON: Not necessarily Chris. I think that McConnell has made a calculation, and a very cool one which he has a history of doing which is that he sees no future in the Trump Republican Party. I mean that portion of the party has clawed its way to the bottom, then impeached twice, lost the senate, lost the house, lost the presidency and is not going to get any better than that under Trump right?
It's only going to get worse. So they've got to figure out a new direction, a new way, a new leadership if they're ever going to regain a majority. And that is what Mitch McConnell has as his long game.
CUOMO: Hey max, you made a great point about how an impeachment trial might wind up being a trial for the party.
In terms of the relationships, do you believe in the Biden-McConnell relationship? What is its strengths? What is its limitations?
BOOT: I believe the relationship exist, I don't think that's going to suddenly make Mitch McConnell be accommodation and be greatly invested in the success of a Biden presidency. Because he is first and foremost a ruthless partisan who is all about taking back control of the senate.
But I do think it will be possible to strike deals on a limited number of areas. Because there will be some overlap between what McConnell views as his self interest and what's President Biden to get done. I don't think that McConnell wants to be seen as 100 percent obstructionist, he understands that there needs to be a response to COVID, there needs to be response to the economic meltdown.
I think, you know, I think Mark is right, that McConnell is calculating the future of the Republican Party because he already sees support for Trump following the Republican Party. The recent "Washington Post"/ ABC News polls said that 35 percent of Republicans don't want Trump to define the future of the party. That still is not enough but it's up from only 18 percent a couple of years ago.
And as Trump, you know, has lost his Twitter platform; he's lost the presidency, his hold on the Republican Party may weaken and I think McConnell is canny enough to realize that clinging to Trump is not going to be a proposition for long term political success for Republicans especially in the senate when they have to run in statewide elections, not in these gerrymandered districts that the House Republicans come out of.
And so, you know, I think that's not all going to be kumbaya and sweetness (INAUDIBLE) with Mitch McConnell. He's still going to be a ruthless partisan but I think he may be he may be recalculating what isn't a Republican interest. And it's not being completely loyal and saying in the party of Donald Trump because that's been a dad end and for the GOP.
CUOMO: Fellows, appreciate you and I thank you for joining us on an historic day, morning, evening.
Thank you and be well.
MCKINNON: Thank you Chris.
BOOT: Thanks. CUOMO: Now I can feel some of you saying, why are do you talking so
much about the Republicans? You know who wants the answers the questions, you know who's asking these questions right now? You know who's having these conversations?
Don Lemon of course. President Joe Biden why? Because if you want to get things done, and he has to get things done he needs to figure out what the paths are and that includes through the GOP. It matters. We saw what happens when you just play one side and make the other side the enemy. You get where we are.
We want better, you've got to do differently.
Coming up, some of the music that Biden hopes will help heal the nation.
LEMON: They're playing our song right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will be a president for all Americans, all Americans.
And I promise you, I will play this hard for those who not support me as for those who did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Two weeks after all hell broke loose at the U.S. Capital, our capital Garth Brooks brought sweetness and civility back to Washington. I want you to listen to his music as a special and important now as ever, as performed -- he performed "Amazing Grace" at the integration. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(GARTH BROOKS PERFORMING "AMAZING GRACE")
GARTH BROOKS, PERFORMER: I will ask you to sing this last verse with me not just the people here but the people at home, at work and as one, united.
LEMON: One of my favorite performers of the day.
LEMON: A capella isn't easy. We talked about Lady Gaga and hearing herself in her ear but singing front of that crowd right? I'm not sure if he was wearing the earpiece or whatever that helps you with your with pitcher, whatever.
I thought he was amazing. And what I loved about it, well, they should've showed Obama because remember Obama singing it right?
But what I loved about it is that Garth Brooks got a lot of flak for appearing at this inauguration but that's exactly what we need in this moment is what Garth Brooks did.
I thought he sounded great and I was really happy that he was there and I have nothing bad to say. no criticism of Garth Brooks.
CUOMO: I can't claim it. But it is a great line. Somebody said to me today after Gorman, you know, the poet and Garth, this is a perfect example of Americand -- I'm a big American person, right. I talk to you about it all the time Americans being at their best as opposed to American't.
This was America Americand, and, because the story of America as demonstrated I think beautifully with Garth, Gorman and with Gaga, all the jeez was we are black and white. We are singing in gospel hymn --
LEMON: We are poets --
CUOMO: We are and, and, and, and, and, and.
We are Muslims and Christians and, and, and, and, and Christians and Muslims. And black and white and gay and straight, we are and. As long as this country is about and we're in a good place.
LEMON: You know what you just reminded me when you were doing that. I'm here the sound of abundance of rain and a hue. The I hear the sound of victory. Just wait --
I don't know why, I know I thought about.
CUOMO: You see why the struggle in this country is so hard?
LEMON: Victory. Victory. Victory.! So listen he -- you know what Google it, Google it, Google it.
CUOMO: What's in his cup?
LEMON: Nothing, this reminded me when you said, we're about cans and --
CUOMO: Not cans -- and.
LEMON: I'm sorry And.
But we're about a lot of things. My grandmother loved country music, we would listen to country music all the time, we would listen to radio in the middle of the night. And she would -- to go to sleep, this is the TV went off at midnight. So we were night owls, we would put the radio on and most of the time my grandmother would put on country music in the middle the night. So I am a country music lover, but you wouldn't think that because people think well Don Lemon is outspoken especially it comes to black issues, blah, blah, blah -- there's no way he can like country music.
I love country music, I think it's great. I was sop happy that Garth Brooks was there. And I was so happy that Amanda was there.
I was so happy that Lady Gaga was there and that J.Lo was there and there was all the and. And's and's hands --
CUOMO: Yes. look, you know who doesn't love country music?
LEMON: you hate it?
CUOMO: I don't hate. I'm not a hater. But I love Garth Brooks. I love that he did. I love that he was there. I love that he sang that hymn.
I love it. I love all the ands of it. Look at us, right. Down south, up north, black, white -- totally different backgrounds -- victory, victory, victory.
LEMON: I hear the sound of abundance of rain. I hear the sound of abundance of rain.
CUOMO: But I'm saying.
LEMON: Victory. Yes.
CUOMO: Look at this, right?
LEMON: You know what, we got to go to break I know.
CUOMO: That's how you know we're --
LEMON: If you wanted an a capella when I said it's tough, you know why I know it's tough. I thought it was a great -- ask Barack Obama - -
LEMON: No, ask --
LEMON: -- when he did it in that church the people behind him jumped right in to help him.
CUOMO: All of this -- don't bet on Obama.
LEMON: It ain't easy.
CUOMO: Just saying. Not me Mr. President.
LEMON: That's not true, you know I'm not.
We'll be right back.
CUOMO: You went bad on Obama. Do my show.