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Trump Becomes 45th President Today. Aired 4-4:30a ET
Aired January 20, 2017 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Inauguration day has a jam-packed schedule of events. It will be conducted under tight security, very tight security.
[04:00:01] Behind the scenes, the Trump team is still scrambling to fill some vital roles. So what's in store now as citizen Trump becomes President Trump?
Let's bring in CNN's Athena Jones live for us in our Washington bureau.
And, good morning, Athena. In just a few hours, this whole very majestic and busy day begins to unfold.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine.
That's right. A busy day, a historic day. It all kicks off with a church service at 8:30 in the morning at the church right across the park from the Blair House, which is the guest house where the Trumps stayed last night. I should note that the president-elect's selection of the man to speak, the pastor to preach at that private service is getting some attention. His name is Reverend Robert Jeffress, and he has a long history of inflammatory remarks about Muslims, Mormons, Catholics and gays.
After that private church service, the Trump and Pences head over to the White House for tea with the Obamas and then it's up to Capitol Hill for the inaugural ceremony itself, swearing in noon, followed by the inaugural address, then an inaugural luncheon at the Capitol, a military review, the inaugural parade and then tonight's balls.
All of it as you mentioned taking place under intense security amid huge crowds. We're talking about some 800,000 people expected to come out to witness President Trump making history.
So, a very, very busy day. The president-elect also had a busy day yesterday. He arrived in D.C. around midday, had a brief meeting with Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, to talk about to expect today. He attended a welcome concert and a private dinner.
At the concert, he talked about real change. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: So, this journey began 18 months ago. I had something to do with it, but you had much more to do with it than I did. We all got tired of seeing what was happening and we wanted change. But we wanted real change. And I look so forward to tomorrow. We're going to see something that is going to be so amazing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: So, the president-elect promising an amazing day today. I should mention that the inauguration itself is not the only action taking place on Capitol Hill. There are also two Senate confirmation votes expected for two of the president-elect's cabinet members. General James Mattis for secretary of defense and General John Kelly to head up homeland security.
And all of this is taking place as the Trump team continues to try to fill out its government, to fill the many open jobs that are remaining. And also to determine what will be the new president's first act as president.
President-elect Trump has promised very meaningful action on day one, but he hasn't offered any specifics. We should find out in a matter of hours what action he plans to take -- Christine.
ROMANS: Absolutely. Athena Jones for us this morning. Thank you, Athena.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. There could be hundreds of thousands of people watching here, millions if not billions watching around the world. This is an important moment not just for America, but indeed every country on earth.
Our senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward live this morning for us in our Moscow bureau.
And, Clarissa, what are world leaders saying?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, I think it's no secret that there is some anxiety about today as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take the oath of office. There is also in some quarters some anger. We know that there are protests scheduled in various cities across the world, London, Berlin and Sydney. Some people angry about some of the rhetoric that they heard on the campaign trail.
But there are also a lot of parties organized around the world. People who want to watch the inauguration. It does feel to many that this is a particularly historic inauguration.
But I think the main thing people will be concentrating on is listening to President-elect Trump's inaugural address and trying to get a better clue or looking out for some inkling of what a Trump foreign policy may look like, because actually beyond some of the more explosive comments that we've heard, whether it be that NATO is obsolete, whether it be questioning the future integrity of the One China policy or talking about bans on Muslims or building walls with Mexico, beyond that kind of more bombastic rhetoric, there is not very much knowledge or understanding of what exactly foreign policy will look like under a future President Trump.
And that is what has many world leaders feeling a little bit anxious. There is a sense of ambiguity. People want more clarity on what their relationship of all these various countries will be like with the U.S. because, of course, they look to the U.S. as the leading country of the free world and they want more clarity on what their relationships will be like with the U.S. -- John and Christine.
BERMAN: It will be interesting to hear what then President Trump says in his inauguration address. Generally speaking on inauguration, presidents only speak about foreign relations in the broadest brush strokes, but again, we'll be watching very, very closely.
[04:05:02] Clarissa Ward, thanks so much.
ROMANS: All right. Let's bring in our all star panel this morning to talk about the day as it unfolds here. Political economist Greg Valliere, chief strategist at Horizon Investments, CNN politics reporter, Eugene Scott, CNN contributor Salena Zito, reporter for "The Washington Examiner", and a "New York Post" columnist, and CNN presidential historian, Tim Naftali, former director of the Nixon Presidential Library.
Eugene, let me start with you about the day that is about to unfold. This is a day unlike any Donald Trump has ever experienced. The eyes of the world are on him.
They will be watching his every move. They will be watching him walk into that church service. They will watch him walk other than here and have tea with the Obamas. They will watch him put his hand on a bible and raise his other and at that take the oath of office.
This is a day the United States, we do this unlike anybody else in the world.
EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, that's so very true. And the symbolism of it is very meaningful and people are looking to see what all of these symbols mean.
You mentioned the bible -- so Donald Trump will take the oath on a bible he got from his mother in 1955 after he finished Sunday school at a Presbyterian Church. And at Barack Obama's second inauguration, he took the oath on Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King's bible.
So, what this says about what these individuals value and where they will move forward in their administrations tells people a lot. I will say, an interesting notice that both of them took the oath on the Lincoln bible.
BERMAN: And I love that, right? Because that's continuity.
BERMAN: The last person to take the oath on the Lincoln bible, Barack Obama. So, for all the talk about change, there is some consistency, as well. Salena Zito, you have been with Trump voters, following them so
closely for months and months now. We're about to lose you to another show for us, so I wanted to get your thoughts on this. For the people in the crowd today, the thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people who have come here to Washington to be a part of this, what does this mean?
SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: This means everything to them. They feel -- through Trump, they feel that they have a voice. But what I found was so fascinating last night as I was walking through the Lincoln Memorial during the celebration event, I found people that were not Trump voters. People that -- there were Clinton people there who had already booked their rooms, you know, it was the anticipation that she was going to win and they made the conscious decision to come and to witness it.
And I thought that was small nugget that maybe we don't think about and we don't talk about. And again, the Trump voters -- I mean, I met people from Utah, I met people from Michigan, I met people from Tennessee.
No matter who's being inaugurated, to have all of these people come in, people came by train, from the Amtrak, a couple came all the way from Wyoming, they spent three days on the train. So, you know, that part of the --
BERMAN: They're just excited to be outside.
ZITO: Yes, that's true. But, you know, I love that enthusiasm that we have even if you weren't here because you voted for him. For the American experience, it really is just -- that gives me goose bumps.
ROMANS: You know, Tim, there's -- I keep using the word majesty, but there is something about today that is bigger than the candidate, right? There is something about today, this is -- you're seeing the birth of the candidate, the nominee, the president-elect into the person who will lead this country, but in a way the office is bigger than the person.
TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, we are more than our president, but our presidents matter a lot to us as Americans. And when you think of the moments that are presidential -- there are only a handful for every administration -- this is one of them. This is the beginning of a new presidency. It's the beginning of a new era.
And you don't have to just be a policy wonk. You don't have to be a political nerd. You just have to be an American to care about the process we're watching. And that's what today is all about, it's that peaceful transfer of power and it's a continuation of our Constitution.
BERMAN: You know, you use the word majesty. What makes this truly spectacular is I think the ceremony most closely resembles is the coronation yet, but in a coronation, you don't have the former king or queen there as a part of it, recognizing the transition and that's what make this truly so wonderful.
ROMANS: The people are coronating. You know, it's the people that are so important here.
BERMAN: And, Greg, there will be I expect a change in tone from President-elect Trump, candidate Trump, to President Trump. I think we got a taste of the old Trump last night. He was at a dinner where he was speaking to donors.
Now, I'm going to play a little bit sound of this. But just remember the crowd he was talking to. These were the people who donated to his campaign and helped get him elected, so he was talking about the election. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We have a cabinet I believe the likes of which has never been appointed. There has never been a cabinet like this. I will say the other side is going absolutely crazy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[04:10:03] BERMAN: So, today should not be about and I doubt it will be about the other side going crazy. That is not I expect what Donald Trump will address today. Instead one would think it's an opportunity for him to reach out to that other side.
GREG VALLIERE, POLITICAL ECONOMIST: At the same time, let me inject a political note in all of this. He has to be mindful that in the last month, his job approval rating has fallen sharply. Is it really 38 percent? I don't know. Maybe the number is off by two or three. But the direction is clear.
I think -- I agree with you, he has to be magnanimous. He has to appeal to a broad section of the country. If his job approval number stays low, that affects his political capital.
ROMANS: That affects his political capital. You heard his language there. You heard him in another event yesterday. Just very briefly, when he landed, he said the cabinet has highest IQ in history. We know his cabinet has the highest net worth in history. You know, net worth, IQ, I'm not sure necessarily go --
BERMAN: Nobel laureate, maybe doesn't necessarily matter.
ROMANS: But, I wonder, you know, we're going t o learn about who he is by the policies of the people who work for him, too. And we're just starting to see that kind of shape up in these confirmation hearings. They're not all necessarily in lock step, Eugene, with their boss.
SCOTT: They're not, and I think part of it these pairings at this really early stage for someone like Donald Trump who is a Washington outsider are very much like just getting to know one another and figuring out what you are about, what your values are and where you stand on issues.
And so, what will be really interesting to see regarding these people who surface, who are not on the same page with him is how he will respond to people who perhaps aren't yes people and who may have knowledge in areas that he has less knowledge in and who push back on his generalizations about ideas.
BERMAN: All right, guys. Stick around. Much more to discuss on this historic morning. We're told that Donald Trump crafted his inaugural address himself. So, what is he going to say?
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[04:15:04] WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: Our democracy must be not only the envy of the world, but the engine of our own renewal. There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: One of the best lines ever really when you think about it.
ROMANS: It was Bill Clinton's inaugural in 1993. Of course, Hillary Clinton was there by his side and she will be by his side again today to watch the inauguration of Donald J. Trump, her opponent in this past election. She along with everyone else on that dais and everyone on in the audience and around the world waiting to hear what the president, the new president will say in his address.
We're joined again with our panel right now.
In the inaugural address, Tim, is a chance to frame not just your presidency, but to frame where you think the country is and what the country needs.
NAFTALI: Exactly. And we saw in Cleveland at that point, the Republican nominee Donald Trump gave us a dire picture of the country now and promised that were he given the chance, he could fix things. Today, he has an opportunity to say how and to give us a sense of the future America he hopes to build. That's what he has today.
So, that's why this particular speech is so important because Donald Trump is not someone who has really communicated with us through speeches. We know how he's communicated.
NAFTALI: This is his chance to do it. And since he's following a lot of the other rituals today, he will probably follow this one, too, in the sense that he will give us a speech and that will be important for us as we go forward. ROMANS: So what about tone? We've talked about it a little bit. But
Donald Trump is confident, Donald Trump is brash, Donald Trump often can have sharp words for other people.
What is the importance of the tone today and will it be a new tone, a new voice, the first voice of the president?
ZITO: I suspect it will be aspirational. I suspect he will make a statement and tell you this is where I want to take you. It's what he should do. It's what the country expects from him.
You know, he offered where make America great again. People missed the fact that that was aspirational. That was a tangible benefit that he was offering to voters. That's what they heard and it was a promise to take them to a better place.
And if he builds off of that and he mentioned make America great again yesterday a couple of times when he was at the Lincoln Memorial. And along with the America first thing, I think that that is where he's going. He's giving us hints that that's what he wants to say.
BERMAN: Couple of things that we will see today. We will see Clarence Thomas swear in Mike Pence as vice president of the United States. He will be using for the first time that will be used in an inauguration from Ronald Reagan, a bible that comes from Ronald Reagan being flown out from the Reagan library. That's symbolic.
We will see Chief Justice John Roberts swear in Donald Trump as president of the United States.
And, Eugene, you know, people forget that candidate Donald Trump was actually very critical of the chief justice for the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare.
SCOTT: Very critical. He called him an absolute disaster. And what we have seen since Donald Trump has been elected is him shift a bit with some of the people that he was competing against very passionately just a few months ago, a few weeks ago. I remember the week he was elected, like two days later, he was speaking of Barack Obama as if that Monday he hadn't called him the worst president in the history of the United States.
But what we want to see American people is a continuation of trying to bridge gaps and work towards making this country whatever people think it should be at its best.
ROMANS: It's so interesting. You know, Donald Trump holds grudges, but he also gets over it. He changes his mind.
VALLIERE: I think we all agree he has to be magnanimous. However, I think there's got to be a couple of sound bytes straight out of Queens. He can't undo who he is. I mean, he is -- but that's what people voted for, someone who is
abrasive, who wants to shake up the system. So I think it will be a gentle speech, but he can't go off warm and cuddly all of a sudden.
SCOTT: Best of Queens.
BERMAN: Straight out of Queens, I think I saw that movie. I'm wondering, Salena, when talk about actions and what the new president will do and when, what the priorities need to be.
ZITO: Well, I think some of his first actions will be on trade. But also on tax regulation and on -- just on regulations, and I think that you will see him speak about that early.
[04:20:00] I talked to several companies in the Midwest and they have met several times with the transition team. So, I -- and they talked about tax reform. They talked about regulatory reform and they felt very positive about it and they felt confident in getting their inventories to open up and to start to consider jobs.
So I think this is going to be jobs and freeing up the ability to start to create them. I think will be the first things that he does.
BERMAN: All right, guys. Stick around. We, of course, will be watching for that.
The president very, very powerful person in the world, but one thing he cannot control, at least we think, the weather. What is the forecast for today? Because we've all been looking at some vicious radar.
Stay with us.
ROMANS: There is good news to report on the condition of former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara. They are both in a Houston hospital. A Bush family spokesman says the two are, quote, "on the upswing".
Bush 41, he does remain in intensive care, but we're told he is alert, he is in stable condition. And he may soon have his breathing tube removed. The former first lady is being treated with antibiotics for bronchitis. She is said to be feeling, quote, "1,000 percent better." Their son, former President Bush, he will be at today's inauguration.
BERMAN: I can bet you, the former president will be watching from Washington, because this type of thing is the kind of thing of he relishes in.
All right. What about the weather here, though?
[04:25:00] We've seen rain in the forecast which is a serious concern to the hundreds of thousands of us that will be standing outside watching.
Meteorologist Derek Van Dam has the latest forecast.
DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, John and Christine.
All eyes on the nation's capital today and it literally might rain on Donald Trump's parade. We have a lot of activities taking place in D.C. We'll highlight everything.
But look what is coming from the west. We have a batch of rainfall that will likely impact the inauguration and the parade taking place at 3:00 p.m. this afternoon. So, let's time things out for you. We do anticipate cloud cover, perhaps low clouds and fog to settle into the nation's capital through the course of the morning.
And then about the noon hour, right when we expect the inauguration to take place, a band of showers should move across D.C. and then eventually move out just in time for the parade. But I do expect cloud and perhaps some drizzle to stick around certainly fog perhaps impacting visibilities.
How much rainfall can we expect? Well, really rainfall totals should stay just under a half an inch. So, quarter to half an inch is really what we anticipate. Good news is that the National Park Service has actually allowed collapsible umbrellas into the national monument. So, they had to update their rules because of the high chance of rainfall.
So, timing things out for you. This is what you can expect if you're heading to the capitol or perhaps watching it on TV -- again, low clouds, fog and mist a possibility. Temperatures in the middle and upper 40s which is actually above average where we should be this time of year, and you can see our chances of rain diminish as the afternoon and evening progresses.
Back to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: You know, the problem now with rain is that you can't have the big gulf umbrella, there are all these security concerns. So, all these folks out there are going to be wet.
BERMAN: I've got my hair to worry about. I mean, come on, let's be honest.
ROMANS: John Berman's hair is the third co-anchor.
A tradition unique to America set to unfold on the steps behind us today. Donald Trump will take the oath of office in just a few hours.
EARLY START coverage continues.
BERMAN: It has its own agent, my hair does. Better than most --