ABC political roundtable discusses the presidential inauguration

Byron Pitts, Terry Moran, Yvette Simpson, David Muir, Linsey Davis, Chris Christie, Rahm Emanuel and Sara Fagen discuss the inauguration events.
6:41 | 01/21/21

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Transcript for ABC political roundtable discusses the presidential inauguration
Let's talk to our group here in the studio starting with Ainge or David Muir. Joe Biden never mentioned Donald Trump's name today. The difference in tone, tenor, substance could not be more stark. Oh, it was so stark, and, you know, president Biden's team said this would be forward looking and once we heard the speech it became abundantly clear that they are moving forward. This is not about the past. The president did not hold back from the multiple crises, the pandemic, the economy and the dark divisions, but he said American democracy has prevailed after that horrific test just two weeks ago, and I think we were all struck that there wasn't really any soaring rhetoric. This was plain spoken. Very Joe Biden. He spoke about his mother, show some humility, tolerance and stand in someone else's shoes, even for just a little while so he's press unity and also talking about moving forward, as you point out, George, and he pointed simply to his vice president kamala Harris, the history that she's making and saying don't tell us that things can't change. The change was all up there on the podium today. You know, so much was different about today. Obviously no crowds, no inaugural balls, but in the end the outcome was the same and history was still made, right? But you know what was really unique is that this administration has gotten right to work. They have already had the first press briefing. The theme of today's inauguration was America united, putting an end to as president Biden called it America's civil Chris Christie, let's talk about how the new president reached out. He wants to be the new president for all Americans, speaking to a capitol divided, a country divided Sure. He hit all the right tones today as David said. I would disagree with one point. We talked earlier today in our coverage about the difference between rhetoric and governing, and you saw that starkly today. The rhetoric, as David said, was very forward looking. We're moving off. You mentioned that he didn't even mention Donald Trump's name, but every executive action he took was about reversing what had happened before. It was looking backwards and saying we don't like that we got out of the climate Paris accord, we don't like the Muslim ban. All those different things that Joe Biden spoke about, he tried to take care as much as he could the first day, so governing will be trickier now because he's going to want to do some things that Republicans in the senate and house won't like. He's got very narrow majorities, so that's where his personal relationships are going to have to try to find a way not only to cajole the Republicans but to cajole the people in his own party who want him to be bolder, and that's going to be the very interesting tight rope he'll have to walk. Today he didn't have to walk a tight rope. Reversed a lot of trump stuff and looked backwards, no thanks. And the way to be bold is executive action. You don't have to negotiate with anybody. A couple of things, he was authentic to himself and true to the moment in history. That's why it's working. It wasn't trying to chase Kennedy, wasn't trying to chase Obama's poetry. Second, he talked high about unity, cohesion or consensus is what you do in government. Unity is what you do rhetorically about the heart not being hardened, open to the soul, and lastly I think given how tight the majority is that normal cw, conventional wisdom, no Democrat can stop that. No Democrat wants to be the skunk, if you walk, two of you, you ruin the chance for Biden and this will create a discipline that Democrats aren't used to. So narrow that no one wants to ruin the chance. If Democrats hold together, will that attract more Republicans or unify Republicans against the democratic party and Joe Biden's agenda? I think we'll see a lot of discord in the senate because of some of these issues. The president today went with these executive actions and right away went after climate change, right away went after the keystone pipeline, and -- and elections have consequences, and that's his right, but already Republicans will look at that and saying, wow, he is going to be more liberal than we're going to want him to be. I also thought this speech so beautiful, so eloquent, so much about unity almost is going to make it the impeachment hearings very interesting for him. He spent the entire day talking about unity. One of the first actions of the democratic party is going to be to impeach the former president. Already impeached, to try the former president. Excuse me. One peaceful transfer of power that I didn't know we would have today after the not so peaceful time we had a couple weeks ago. There was a collective exhale felt around the nation and certainly around the world when the oath was taken, and could I feel it. I feel like I could breathe for the first time in four years. I think now we get to work, and I think the work of making sure that we put Americans first, making sure we take care of are this pandemic, making sure that we bring our nation together in racial reconciliation and have real justice is what we'll be looking forward to in the next day. Thank. Byron Pitts, also telling Americans, asking Americans, pleading with Americans to listen to each other, to open their hearts to each other. George, that's right. Today there was a spirit of calm, it seemed, that was over Washington and hopefully over our nation. Also I thought about the courage of possibility in our democracy that you saw today with people coming together, Republicans and Democrats. It being a safe day. You know, George, next to quoting Irish poets and the bible, Joe Biden loves to quote his mother, Katherine Eugenia Finnegan who died at the tender age of 92. He said when he was bullied as a child she told him, quote, without courage you can not love with abandon. So we will see that -- that courage hopefully from president Biden as he seeks to lead and love our nation to a better place. Terry Moran, who could have known that Han American president would have to get up in 2021 and ask all Americans to simply tell the truth. And it was needed. It was needed. Lies are corrosive, and they damage the body politic, so that speech today was about the poetry and the high ceremony and I think many Americans found that healing and now he has to get to the prose and hard work. Two traits Biden has that will help him. 36 years in the senate. He sees policy making as a collective activity, incremental, not top-down, here's a plan. Second, he's a centrist, and one thing every American know are centrists, centrists don't riot. No centrist riots and he approaches it with a little more trust on the other side. We saw a lot of calm today. Coming up, a look ahead at the

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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