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Trump Inaugural Balls. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired January 20, 2017 - 20:00   ET


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A successful brand in her own right. People say she's Donald Trump's wife. She's had a successful career as a model, has a successful career in the runway. I think the most fascinating question is I think she is winning applause for saying my son's in school, he's 10.

[20:00:02] The youngest child in the White House since John Kennedy Jr. I believe. Let's see what happens next year.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Right now the Liberty Ball, the gospel performance by Chrisette Michele and Travis Greene singing "Intentional." We'll take that as soon as it happens. The Liberty Ball is happening just above where we are in the -- we're at the Freedom Ball. Let's listen in.

ANNOUNCER: Please welcome your hosts for this evening, Tim Rushlow and His Big Band.



[20:05:43] ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, introducing your musical host for the Liberty Ball, the Jim Gray Orchestra with special guest Erin Boheme.


COOPER: And the balls have begun. There are two balls actually in this building here. We are at the Freedom Ball. Right above us is the Liberty Ball. We're going to be switching between the two. There's also the armed services ball is where Erin and Don Lemon are, along with Dana Bash.

Coming up, the Rockettes will be performing. There was some controversy, John, some members of the Rockettes said they didn't want to perform here, that they had to. A lot of that seems to have blown over, though. They are here tonight. They'll be performing a number of acts.

[20:10:01] KING: A lot of it has blown over it. It's been a recurring theme, some of the parents and some of the children and one of the choirs this morning, this National Cathedral Parks didn't want their children to be here and sent a firm message, it's tradition, we do this for every president, and we're going to do this. Normally, this is a weekend when politics gets turned out. This has

not been a normal election or transition. So, we see doses of it, I would say. I don't want to overblow it.

But there have been some -- another form of protest, if you will. We've seen a number of protests take place about this inauguration, some Democrats boycotting it, protests in street today and from the world of music and culture, we've had a few sounds of dissent as well.

COOPER: As we wait for the Rockettes, extraordinary the turnaround that has taken place in the White House today, not only have all the Obamas' possessions been moved out but Donald Trump and his family have already redecorated in the oval office. They don't redecorate all the rooms but they do have a certain latitude for some room.

KATE ANDERSEN BROWER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'm amazed he redecorated the Oval Office so soon. I think President Obama did it in 2010, so to do it right away I think sends the signal that he's there. It's unusual to do it the night of the inauguration.

But, yeah, the residence staff, about 100 maids, butlers at the White House who do everything to make the family feel comfortable. So they have five hours to move the new family in and the departing family out. And the goal is when the Trumps arrive tonight, that there's not a trace of the Obamas, you know.

Their photos are on the dressers. They do an amazing job. They find out the shampoo they like. You know, the toothpaste and the food they want for breakfast.

And they stay on from one administration to the next and I think that bond that they form is very real. And I think it's a really great thing now to have in such a polarized election.

COOPER: It's not clear at this point if Melania Trump will be staying in New York, her son Baron going to school, at least until the end of the school year. But do we know how much time Donald Trump will spend in the White House? Will he be going back to Trump Tower in New York?

KING: We expect him to go back to New York for the weekends quite a bit. We don't know what quite a bit means. Obviously, he wants to get things moving in Washington quickly. It will be fascinating to watch how often he does go home, but they've made it clear his political organization is keeping space in Trump Tower.

The Secret Service has had to take a lot of space in Trump Tower. So, there's no question he will be going home more than we have seen other presidents go back home. New York also very close.

COOPER: And the Rockettes about to be introduced. Let's listen in.

ANNOUNCER: The piano guys.


[20:16:05] COOPER: And there are the world-famous Rockettes. That was an Irving Berlin medley, in case you are wondering, in case you're not familiar.

It's interesting, Kate, you made the point, there's generational differences. This really is. I mean, when you think about it, not a lot of focus. Maybe you mentioned this.

You know, Donald Trump is the oldest president ever to be inaugurated. You made the point earlier today when Ronald Reagan ran age was a factor. It hasn't been for Donald Trump, but went you realize he is from a different generation than President Obama was.

KING: We're going to hear, he's going to dance "My Way." Obviously, Donald Trump ran his way. He's almost a full generation older than President Obama. His cultural references are different. Some of that is the way he communicates politically but some of that is just who he is and generations he comes from.

COOPER: And yet he has been able to capture this time and this place and so much of the country.

We're going to take a short break. Our coverage continues. We're expecting the first appearance by President Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, and the first dance as well. We'll bring that all to you coming up.


[20:21:13] COOPER: And welcome back.

We're celebrating and recognizing the inauguration of Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States, multiple balls going on in Washington, D.C., three official balls that the Trumps are going to be visiting, dancing at each of those, obviously going to bring you each of those dances.

The first one we anticipate very shortly, they're actually running a little bit behind schedule, but we'll bring that to you. Also, the next act we'll bring you is called Pelican 212. Actually, it's a band made up of seven brothers and sisters who have honed their skills on the sidewalks of Nashville and New Orleans and Pensacola. I'm told they're actually quite remarkable so we look forward to that shortly.

This is a tradition, the idea of the inaugural balls is something we've grown used to. I mean, it doesn't date back for generations, but certainly each time we've seen -- I mean, I think there were more balls in the past, I think three in fewer balls that we've seen but it's certainly important for the first family.

KING: My first inaugural of 1989, George H.W. Bush and I was a kid. One of my jobs was to go around to the parties and the balls to get quotes from celebrities for the "Associated Press" back in the day. So, the balls are a tradition.

I think there were 10 or 11 Barack and Michelle Obama went to in 2009. A very different -- again, not a criticism at all. Culturally, the backgrounds are different, ages are different. Beyonce I remember sang to the Obamas, I believe "At Last," you get the symbolism, the first African-American president and his wife dancing to that. Stevie Wonder was here for that inaugural.

I remember the Clintons, the Clintons had official balls and that was also MTV, which played music back then. They had big celebrations.

BROWER: I remember Bill Clinton went up on stage in '93 and played the sax. So, I don't think we'll see that from this president. But I do think it's an interesting ball because it is very open, $50 ticket.

COOPER: Ticket for this is $50.

BROWER: And anyone could get a ticket. And that's part of his kind of message. I think the live coverage of this ball is longer than we've ever seen before.

COOPER: Service members ball, third ball, invitation only, service members, wounded warriors, first responders.

BROWER: That's exactly what he's going for. This is a nod to the military.

I do think that he has a very -- I can see his sort of footprint and he's definitely involved in the balls and the planning and you could see that he's trying to bring glamour back in a Reaganesque kind of way.

KING: You think back to Tom Barrack earlier tonight, when you were talking to him. Tom was a big part of setting this up for the president-elect, the Liberty Ball, the Freedom Ball, the Armed Services ball, they're trying to make a point. Today in the speech, some people won't like it if you don't like Donald Trump politically but play to patriotism, play to America first. There's a big dynamic of this first day, but this is also a very clear them of what the new president is trying to say.

COOPER: And also, Donald Trump knows very much who he is, who he wants to be as president whether anybody know who is his governing style will be like, that I think maybe he even does it until he actually begins. We certainly heard in that speech today a president who in staying true to his campaign message.

KING: A president true to his campaign message, to the dismay to many conservatives who didn't like the America fist, a more protectionist trade message, the free market conservatives generally stand for, you have a Republican president --

COOPER: Or neocons who look to the United States.

KING: Wants the United States to be more muscular and aggressive in the world.

[20:25:02] To them, we'll see what happens as it plays out. To them, it sounded like Donald Trump was pulling back from America's big role in the world. Again, I shouldn't read too much into his speech. We'll see what happens as he addresses the many challenges.

The biggest lesson every outgoing president tells the next president is I know what you ran on in the campaign, I know that's what you believe and I know that's your priority, but in this job, you must expect the unexpected because you never know what's going to cross your desk.

COOPER: Derek, there has been some controversy for some designers saying they weren't interested in being involved with the first lady in this administration, Donald Trump shot back, talking about Tom Ford, saying Melania does not like --

DEREK BLASBERG, CNN STYLE: Doesn't like you anyway.

COOPER: Doesn't like his fashions.

KING: Get used to that.

COOPER: He's an amazing designer but --

BLASBERG: Which is why a big deal that Ralph got off the bench and made dresses for Melania and also for Hillary. Hillary was a suit.

There are a few websites that are tracking which designers have said they would and would not dress Melania as a first lady. It's sort of fascinating to see Mark Jacobs, for example, said he would not, Cynthia Rowley, some of these others said they would. I'm sort of curious as the sort of good will we feel tonight if that extend into tomorrow and next week if those names on those lists may flip.

COOPER: It is interesting because you get criticism on this, we all do. There are Democrats, there are liberals who say, look, if you are just -- I mean, if you are reporting on this as the 45th, you know, inauguration of the 45th president, you are normalizing this, which they feel is somehow inappropriate.

Actually, we'll talk about that. The group Pelican 212 is starting. Let's listen in.


[20:35:18] COOPER: The band is Pelican 212. We're at the Freedom Ball, one of three official Inaugural Balls.

We are waiting the first dance from the President Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump, that's coming up. Stay tuned.


COOPER: And welcome back to the Freedom Ball here. We're in the convention hall where above us actually is the Liberty Ball and there's also the ball for service members where Erin Burnett is.

We'll be bringing you all three of the Inaugural Balls tonight. The first family, President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, will each be appearing at the three balls. Let's listen in. These are the piano guys. Let's listen in.

[20:42:30] STEVEN SHARP NELSON, THE PIANO GUYS, CELLIST: Thank you. Thank you so much. It's an honor to be with you here tonight. We're The Piano Guys and we like combing classical music and pop music. I want to set this next up for you.

We'd like to play for you our tribute to superheroes, but not the kind of superheroes you might think that comic books have concocted. No. These are ordinary people in all of our lives that use superhuman spiritual strength to overcome extraordinary challenges. Instead of leaping tall buildings in a single bound, these superheroes rescue us from searing heat of self-pity and hopelessness with their example of tremendous faith and fortitude.

And I'm any thinking, you know, people like this, don't you. I'm thinking of my father. He's my superhero. He's a patriotic guy. So he's proud his son is here tonight.

My father raised me and five siblings, six kids, while caring for my mother as she suffered from a brain tumor for 18 years. He taught me a great lesson. He taught me that when the fights of our lives grow too fierce, we turn them over to grace and let grace do the fighting for us. This is our version of "Fight Song" with "Amazing Grace." Thank you so much.

[20:47:55] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, once again, please welcome the world-famous Radio City Rockettes.

[20:51:48] COOPER: And the Rockettes who obviously performer in New York's Radio City musical. That the second appearance. They were at one of the other balls and now they are here.

It is interesting just a number of balls, there's three balls, three official balls. There's also other parties happening in Washington, D.C. tonight.

BROWER: Yeah, I think it's interesting that, you know, President Reagan went to 10. Obama went to 10. And we're seeing this pairing down. It does kind of strangely feel like a Carter thing to do. When Jimmy Carter came in and wanted to be known as the peaceful president and not spend a lot of money.

And so, in strange way, it's having a Republican go to so few balls is striking to me.

And in 1913, President Wilson canceled the Inaugural Ball and it didn't come back for several years. Because it just look bad to be spending so much money. And the Reagans came under a lot of fire for Nancy's Reagans ball gown costing afford to $20,000 which is remarkable for one dress to cost that.

BLASBERG: But there was that great moment after Nancy had worn that she was criticized for that dress


BLASBERG: She went to -- I think it was a debate or something dressed in old --

BROWER: Like the secondhand rose thing (ph).


BROWER: Yes. They're making fun of herself as she, Nancy which I recall (ph) there.

COOPER: But, usually I mean -- I think the ticket to this ball are $50, it's really to celebrate for those who worked on the campaign, for those who supported the campaign, for those who want to be part and celebrate this day.

KING: And I think it's one of the -- I don't know the word for it, but one of the layers of the Trump presidency we're going to have to go through. At the end of a week where Democrats criticized his cabinet of millionaires and billionaires they say Donald Trump, you know, is a faux populist. He said he's just the little guy, but he only knows the sheltered life in New York Penthouse and yet to his credit, you're right. Just, you know, the head gets you in to this ball. Anybody who wants to be here can be here.

He says he's a populist that's going to help the guy who works with his hands or the man or woman that used to work in a factory that is now shutting down out of small South America.

His speech today gave a more pessimistic view of the American economy than many others would, but it's a trade mark of his presidency.

Tonight is I guess, what we're seeing today whether you like it or not, the trademark Trump. He is clear.

COOPER: And were so many people here and there are thousand of people here (inaudible) accounted as one ball not to mention the other balls. So many waiting to see the president, waiting to see Melania Trump. We expect them to be arriving here shortly. We'll obviously going to bring that to you the first stance (ph) a lot more of the acts the talent performing tonight, great variety of musical performances. We'll be right back.


[20:58:17] COOPER: And welcome back to the Freedom Ball in Washington, D.C., celebrating the inauguration of Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States.

The crowd here, very much wanting to see President Trump and the First Lady dance the first dance to Frank Sinatra's "My Way."

Michael Flatly is also going to be performing very shortly. We'll bring that performance to you.

And we're here with John King. And, just in terms of what happens next. I mean already we've seen President Trump tonight sign an executive order, not really clear on what it really means, though.

KING: It's an executive order to all federal agencies telling them any way they can, as the Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare, if a federal agency perceives they can do something and it (inaudible) defies to help a state, an individual, or a player in the health care marketplace to ease the burden of Obamacare. To ease the burden of the Affordable Care Act as its official called.

What does that mean? We'll have to watch as it plays out. Presumably the Department of Health and Human Services to give states waivers and to give insurance companies involved in the some sort of more leeway. And that's involved to that. We're going to have to figure out but.

So it's largely symbolic, until we see the effects of it. But the first executive order signed by the Republican president as the Congress gets about --


KING: -- to repeal a huge debate about the replace part. So that's the first act of a president and to take. The other thing he signed today was to get Gen. Mattis and Gen. Kelly at Homeland Security Defense going.

So as the first policy act it does send a signal to his supporters. I told you in the campaign this is important. It's the first thing I did. Tomorrow morning he'll attend the National Prayer Breakfast which is the big post inaugural event here in D.C.

And we're told to look for more executive actions.

COOPER: All right, we also here with Derek Blasberg from CNN Style, and Kate Andersen Brower, CNN contributor, author of "First Woman".