Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START

The Inauguration of Donald Trump. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired January 20, 2017 - 04:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:30:15] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump's improbable ascend to the peak of the political world culminates today where he's set to be sworn in as president in just a few hours.

EARLY START coverage continues now.

Welcome back, everyone to EARLY START. I am Christine Romans.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Berman. It is great to see you. Thirty minutes after the hour right now.

And we do want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. Just before dawn here in Washington, D.C. and just before the dawn of the Trump presidency.

The sun will rise this morning with one commander-in-chief and it will set with another. This is the peaceful transfer of power, one of the hallmarks of our democracy. At noon today, on the steps of the Capitol, right behind us, Donald J. Trump will become the 45th president of the United States. It actually happens at noon, not when he's sworn in. He may be sworn in before noon, but he becomes president at noon. This is a day with jam-packed schedule of events. It will be conducted under tightest of security.

CNN's Athena Jones is with us.

Athena, give us a preview of what we're going to see today.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John.

Well, as you mentioned, a very busy day. It kicks off at 8:30 a.m. with a church service at the church right across the park from the Blair House which is where the Trumps stayed last night.

The president-elect's selection of the pastor to preach at that private service is get something attention. His name is Reverend Robert Jeffress and he has a long history of inflammatory remarks about Muslims and Mormons, Catholics and gays.

After that church service, the Trumps and the Pences will head to the White House for tea with the Obamas. And then it's on to Capitol Hill for the inaugural ceremony itself, the swearing in at noon and inaugural address. And then a luncheon at the Capitol, the military review, inaugural parade and tonight's balls. So, a very busy day. All of it taking place as you have been noting

amidst intense security. We're talking about some 800,000 people expected to turn out to see President Trump make history.

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 what to expect today. He also attended a welcome concert and private dinner.

At the concert, he talked about real change. Here's what he had to say.

(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: The president-elect there promising an amazing day today. I should mention that the inaugural ceremony itself is not the only action taking place on Capitol Hill today. Also, there are two votes scheduled on two of the president-elect's cabinet picks, General James Mattis for secretary of defense and General John Kelly to head up homeland security.

And all of this is happening as you have been saying the Trump team still scrambling to fill the open jobs remaining in the government. There are a lot of them.

And also to decide what the president's first acts will be as president. President-elect Trump has promised very meaningful action on day one, but he hasn't been specific about what that action will be. We will soon find out -- John.

BERMAN: It is day one.

All right. Athena Jones for us in Washington -- thanks so much.

ROMANS: And it is a day the world will also be watching here, the inauguration of Donald J. Trump, watching very carefully. Foreign leaders wondering whether Trump will stand by his campaign rhetoric on trade, on NATO, on Russia, or will he reach out a happened of reconciliation.

Senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward is with us now. She is from our Moscow bureau.

Clarissa, what are world leaders are saying?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think world leaders are watching this inauguration more closely possibly than they have watched any inauguration before. And while the inaugural address does not traditionally delve deep into foreign policy, you can be sure that world leaders will be trying to find crews as to what foreign policy in the U.S. will look like under President-elect Donald Trump. It's no secret that there is a lot of anxiety from different countries after some of the more explosive comments that we've heard from Trump throughout his campaign, whether it be calling NATO obsolete, whether it be talking about building a wall with Mexico, banning Muslims, questioning the continued integrity of the one China policy.

But there is still a great deal of ambiguity as to what his foreign policy will really look like and I think there will be a lot of people watching closely, wanting to go see whether there is anything that they can read in the tea leaves based on that inaugural address.

[04:35:05] We do know that Mexico's foreign minister is scheduled to visit Washington, D.C. next week. That could be an important step. Obviously, a lot of reconciliation work to be done between President- elect Trump and between Mexico. So, certainly, that's a sign that there could be more reconciliation on the cards.

And certainly as I said before, everybody around the world very much watching this inaugural address with intrigue, curiosity and some apprehension -- John and Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Clarissa in Moscow, thank you for that, Clarissa Ward.

BERMAN: I want to bring in our panel right now. We're joined this morning by political columnist Greg Valliere, the chief strategist at Horizon investments, CNN political 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.

You know, I'm going to start with something we haven't discussed yet, because Athena Jones in our first report this half hour talked about this being day one for President Trump. He starts at 12:00. He has business to do.

Well, Andy Card, who was chief of staff for George W. Bush, he knows what it's like to walk into that building down at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue on this day and get right to work. And he talked overnight with Anderson about what that is like and what Donald Trump needs to do on this first day.

Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDY CARD, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF FOR PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH: Truth is, one minute after 12:00 when the president takes the oath of office, he is the president. So there is no transition. You don't say, "Oh, good, I'll get a good night's sleep and then I'll meet the responsibilities." The chief of staff's job is to understand that and to make sure that there is an infrastructure in place on minute one to help the president with some of the impossible challenges he might have, especially with regard to national security policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So this is it, Tim. At 12:00:01, he is the president of the United States spaced with all the challenges and all the responsibilities of being president. That's got to be just an awesome, awesome thing.

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Yes, first thing he does, is he's going to sign an order so that General Mattis can get paid. First thing he does so that the cabinet that has been confirmed and presumably, General Mattis will be confirmed as secretary of defense by then.

He's going to get what we call the nuclear codes or the football. He will be -- he is our commander-in-chief. He will be responsible for our nuclear arsenal. And everything that goes on in the world, all of those folks will in all of our embassies and all of our consulates will now be reporting to a pyramid and he's at the top of it.

So, he suddenly becomes responsible for our foreign policy and we'll see the extent to which he's responsible for our economy and that happens immediately.

What will really be interesting to see how his government fills in at the second tier. We're talking about everybody who will be in the cabinet. What about the deputies, what about the assistant deputies? We don't know those people yet and it's going to be interesting to see how much of Washington keeps working next week with the old team. Not the old political appointees, but basically the permanent government running things until the Trump team comes in to place.

ROMANS: Yes, those undersecretaries are really important. Because when and you have cabinet leader, that is an important position with a lot of important work, but the managing day to day, that's the undersecretaries and that's something, Eugene, that that's the next level here. We've seen some of the confirmation hearings that are under way here, but who is in charge, I guess, while you're still waiting for these departments to get up and running?

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Right. That seems to be determined as the administration to come is still trying to figure that out. Sean Spicer was talking yesterday where he got significant push back because this is the first administration in 30 years without a Latino person in the cabinet.

He tried to reassure the American people that in some of those appointments down the line, it will be a more diverse administration and he actually said one that will go on record a being one of the most diverse. But as of now, that remains to be seen because these seats are vacant.

BERMAN: Agency by agency, what they do is they identify a career person who will run things until the cabinet sets are confirmed. So, you will have people who will be acting secretary of state, acting secretary of the treasury. And in some cases, this could go on for a long time.

ROMANS: You look at commerce. I think there are 40,000 employees or something, maybe 200 political appointees. The rest are all career people. And even in the secretary's office, there are career employees there, too, to make sure --

BERMAN: Kathleen Sebelius in 2009 wasn't confirmed until April. So, HHS went months. So this can go on for a while. Obviously every administration wants it done very quickly.

Greg Valliere, you run in the nuts and bolts of finance. These are your people and they're looking for results today. But even there, I imagine, on trading floors and investment houses in New York and London and all around the world, there will be some moment today where everyone pauses --

[04:40:01] GREG VALLIERE, POLITICAL ECONOMIST: Sure.

BERMAN: -- glances, and takes in truly, truly, a majestic thing.

VALLIERE: Absolutely, and I think the markets are expecting some talk about pro-growth policies, tax reform, tax cuts.

One other point I want to make quickly -- I think he cannot do nothing today. I know the swearing this is the big story, but I think by evening, maybe as the parade is still going on, he's going to issue regulations or he will kill regulations. He might issue some trade regulations.

Let's not forget, he won Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan by running as a populist, and I think he has to acknowledge these folks and do things like trade tariffs to appeal to those voters who got him elected.

ROMANS: Do you think his nominees get through?

VALLIERE: I think -- I wonder a little bit about Puzder for labor.

ROMANS: The labor nominee.

VALLIERE: I get the feeling he's starting to wonder what he signed up for.

BERMAN: All right. You were talking about the message that the president-elect or the candidate had for Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Of course, he also had a message for California, as well, where he did not win in historical proportions and those people will be part of the audience today for this address. And what will he say to them, what will he say to the world?

We're going to talk much more about the agenda and the speech which he says he has written himself when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) [04:45:01] GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: I do not mistrust the future. I do not fear what is ahead. Our problems are large, but our heart is larger. Our challenges are great, but our will is greater.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: I have to say, he's doing well today. He's in the hospital, but he is doing better we're told from his family.

In just a few hours, newly sworn in President Donald Trump will give his inaugural address. Will it be a celebration of his electoral triumph? Will he try to build a bridge to those who did not vote for him?

Let's bring back our esteemed panel here, Greg Valliere, Eugene Scott, Salena Zito and Tim Naftali.

Will he try to build a bridge? Will he try to unite the whole country, Tim, do you think? Does he need to?

NAFTALI: Oh, of course he needs to.

ROMANS: But will he?

NAFTALI: This is -- remember, at noon today, he becomes president of everybody. He's not just president of the people who voted for him. He's the commander-in-chief of everybody in the military. One would hope that he would build a bridge and speak to and for all of us. That's got to be our hope today.

BERMAN: So what and how, because you've spent a lot of time with Trump voters but you're a shrewd political observer. And during this transition which is normally a time when you do reach out and try to mend some of those divides, there hasn't been a lot of that.

SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No, up until this point, I would argue that from November 8 until today, the campaign has still been going on. We've still been litigating it every day. Not only with the Russian hacks and with all those other things, but also Mr. Trump does through his tweets.

I think that today he must want to be president of everyone. He doesn't want to be a president of half of the country. So, it's really important not only for himself and for his legacy, but also for all of us, that he presents this unity, not only America first, it's incredibly and why people voted for him, but very important also even for the people who voted for him and who didn't vote for him that we come together. I mean, we ultimately should all want that.

ROMANS: We should definitely all want that.

I want to listen to something, last night there was a dinner at Union Station last night that was for the donors, for Donald and the people around him who helped him get where he was. He had a really interesting compliment for Kellyanne Conway, someone you've seen on TV a lot. And I bring this up only because I'm going to play it in a second, but

this is a moment where the people around Donald Trump are so happy. The euphoria on team Trump here is really just up matched. Listen to Donald Trump compliment his friend Kellyanne Conway.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: There is no den she will not go into. When my men are petrified to go on a certain network, I say, Kellyanne, would you do it? "Absolutely. No problem." And then she gets on and she just destroys them.

So, anyway, thank you, baby. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Destroy.

ROMANS: You just interviewed her. She has really been a powerhouse here for him.

I think there are two things going on here. One, they're all really, really happy. And two, we talk about unifying. It could be really tough to be a journalist the next few months because Donald Trump is trying as much as he can to get around the free pass to use Twitter or whatever to talk directly to the people.

ZITO: Yes, and he's made no bones about the fact that he will do whatever it takes to get his message out. And not go through the press when he doesn't want to. When he feels that he wants direct contact with the people, just as he did through the early part of the campaign, early part after the nomination, before he won the nomination, he was everywhere.

I mean, there would be 10, 11, 12 hits a day of multiple news networks. But since then, he has used social media to connect and he has gone around the press. That doesn't mean we don't do our job, but he certainly is trying to make it vexing.

BERMAN: Well, this is the main event today. I mean, this is a speech and this is moment that isn't 140 characters.

ROMANS: That's right.

BERMAN: This is indelible and limitless in many ways.

And, Eugene Scott, you grew up in Washington, D.C.

SCOTT: I did.

BERMAN: And again, Donald Trump will be sworn in as president of the United States, but this is America's day and you've been a part of it. I wonder if you can reflect on what it's like to be here on this day.

SCOTT: Yes, D.C. never gets old to me. I was just thinking about the fact that I was in a school choir in 1996 singing at Bill Clinton's inauguration.

ROMANS: Really?

SCOTT: And I was looking back at that capitol and it just never gets old and I feel very privileged not only to be an American, but a Washingtonian and a journalist covering this day and to know that I can help communicate to American people why this matters.

[04:50:11] And hopefully inspire other kids looking at the news at CNN this early in the morning to maybe just get more involved in the political process.

ROMANS: Greg, we heard Clarissa Ward, you know, talking about how there was apprehension in some foreign capitals because this is a president-elect who has terrified free traders quite frankly. Terrified them. Do you think this America first thing here today, with this American first them of his inauguration, do you think we'll hear any of that?

VALLEIRE: Could be, but he has a lot of really smart people around him. I say the Goldman Sachs wing would say, let's cool it on the trade stuff.

One other real quick point I'd make. I think there are two Trumps. There's the bellicose Trump that we saw during the campaign and there's the Trump we just saw with Kellyanne Conway. And people who work for Trump CEO and now Trump the politician are fanatically loyal and they say he's a great guy to work for. No one says anything bad about him in his inner circle.

ROMANS: That's true.

BERMAN: And today, there will be a President Trump and the question is, will that be a third Trump or one of the two that we've already seen. That's one of the things that I think we'll all be looking for over the next several hours.

Another thing we're going to be looking for, we're going to also be looking up at the sky to see if it's raining because the radar has not looked good. Let's get a forecast on the big day coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: We have good news to report this morning, some welcome news about former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush. They are both in a Houston hospital this morning. A family spokesman says the two are on the upswing. The former president remains in intensive care, but we're told he is alert and in stable condition. Former first lady is being treated for bronchitis and is said to be feeling, quote, "1,000 percent better".

[04:55:02] Former George W. Bush, obviously, their son, he will still be at today's inauguration.

ROMANS: All right. All eyes on the weather. We cannot stop talking about the forecast here because rain could damp the inauguration ceremony and the parade.

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam has the latest forecast.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, John and Christine.

Just under a million people expected to line the National Mall right outside the capitol building to watch the inauguration of the 45th American president and guess what? Wouldn't you know it, there is some interesting weather headed that way.

Take a look at our future radar. You can see a band of showers expected to move across the region associated with an area of low pressure and frontal boundary. And this will bring the possibility of rainfall for the inauguration and potentially into the parade which takes place at 3:00 p.m. this afternoon.

Timing things out for you, low clouds perhaps impacting visibility, perhaps light drizzle associated with that moving through this morning. And then the showery activity picks up midday just about the same time as the swearing in ceremony. And then by 3:00 p.m. and into the early evening hours, we do anticipate the heaviest of rainfall to move eastward, but still low clouds expected, for and perhaps light drizzle in and around the national's capital.

Climatologically speaking, we should be about 43 degrees this time of year, with about of 33 percent chance of rain or 10 percent of snow. The good news is that our temperatures will actually be warmer than the climatological average. However, the bad news is that we'll certainly need the raincoats and umbrellas heading out the door to check this out if you're in the nation's capital because a good chance of rain expected again just in time for the ceremony at 12:00 and dwindling chances of precipitation as we head through the course of the afternoon.

Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Derek with the weather.

Let's talk about the money, checking on CNN Money Stream right now.

U.S. stock futures mixed ahead of the inauguration. Dow futures town a little bit but S&P is up. Stock markets in Europe are moving lower in the first hour of trading there, first couple hours of trading there. Shares in Asia closing mostly higher.

Now, the Trump rally seems to -- well, the pause button has been hit on the Trump rally. But just hours left until the president-elect takes office. Here is where the major averages stand since Election Day. The Dow up more than 8 percent, the S&P 500, a much bigger group of stocks up 6.2 percent. The NASDAQ up 7 percent.

Over the past few weeks, those gains have slowed. Investors want to see what Trump does. I'll calling this the "show me the money" phase of Trumponomics. The transition team claims many first priorities, renegotiating NAFTA, cutting taxes, repealing Obamacare.

Here is the list investors want to see. They want to see tax reformer, a lower corporate tax rate. They want to see less regulation, right away, day one, cutting regulation, and they want stimulus. They want pro-growth policies.

They also want trade. They don't want to see Trump kill free trade. They're worried about protectionist angle of some of people in his inner circle.

Will Donald Trump continue to bash companies on Twitter, threaten companies on Twitter, will he impose tariffs or some other tax to keep workers here in the U.S.? Investors want any clues about that during the inauguration speech, but what they really want is action.

BERMAN: You know, it's interesting the risk of owning gains in the market is that you need to own it when it goes down, as well. And the president-elect over the last months had been big about the Trump surge in the stock market.

ROMANS: Yes.

BERMAN: So, it is interesting to see what he sees if the market takes a turn down.

EARLY START continues on this historic day right now.

(MUSIC)

ROMANS: History unfolds today on Capitol Hill. Donald Trump is set to be the 45th president of the United States, seven hours and counting. EARLY START previews all the festivities right now.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. It is Friday, January 20th. An historic day. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

And we do want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. Look at the capital all lit up in anticipation. We are just before dawn in Washington, D.C., just before the dawn of the Trump presidency.

The sun will rise this morning with one commander-in-chief, and it will set with another. This is the transfer of peaceful transfer of power, one of the hallmarks of our democracy. At noon today, right there on the steps of the Capitol, Donald J. Trump, he will become the 45th president of the United States.

This is such a busy day, jam-packed schedule of events that will be conducted under the tightest of security. We have it all covered for you.

We're going to begin with CNN's Sunlen Serfaty who is behind us live on the steps of the U.S. Capital.

Good morning, Sunlen.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, this is where that historic moment will happen, on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, where Donald Trump will be sworn into office. And as he takes the oath today, he'll be using two bibles, one, a bible that was President Lincoln, also used by President Obama in 2009 when he was sworn in, and also a bible that's more personal in nature, his childhood bible that was given to him when he was only 9 years old by his mother.