First Family Watches Inaugural Parade Along Pennsylvania Avenue

Jan 20, 2017
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A big part of the festivities today is the inaugural parade that winds from the Capitol down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. NPR's Asma Khalid has a prime location for watching the parade and to see the new first family enjoying it. She's on the line now. And, Asma, describe where you're standing.

ASMA KHALID, BYLINE: I - Robert, I'm right in front of the White House on the north side. That's where the reviewing stand is. It's where - the president, the president's family and the vice-presidential family are all sitting here. They've been enjoying the parade come through. They actually arrived here a little bit earlier. I think we have some clip of tape of when the president actually got out, waved to the crowd here.


KHALID: And, Robert, you know, as he got out, there were folks in the stands who started yelling, Trump, Trump. He waved to the crowd. He had a really warm reception from some of the folks here. You know, I got here about 1 o'clock, and some of the folks were here at that point.

SIEGEL: Tell us about who's in the parade. We can hear them right now.

KHALID: Who's in the parade? So at this point, you can probably hear (laughter) that there's a marching band behind me. Just prior to that, there were some Army helicopters that came through. There was a rural tractor brigade. Donald Trump particularly liked them. He gave them a thumbs up.

But, Robert, one of the really interesting groups to me was - there's a - the only historically black college to participate - Talladega College's marching band in Alabama. They got some backlash for participating, but you know, they came, and they performed to the song "Happy."


KHALID: And, Robert, they've put on, you know, (laughter) a really - a great show. And it was interesting because they had been getting a lot of sort of questions from alumni about whether or not they should participate just given some of the polarizing rhetoric of the campaign.

SIEGEL: That's a novel arrangement of that tune. You were walking around the area earlier today. What did you see?

KHALID: That's right, Robert. I was on the streets surrounding the White House, and it was a really sort of surreal moment when Donald Trump took the oath of office and gave his inaugural address. I popped into a coffee shop and was surrounded by some Trump supporters.

But then, you know, sort of if you turned your head in another direction (laughter), right outside the street was a protest march of people who had signs saying, impeach Donald Trump, you know, black lives matter - sort of a hodgepodge protest. And it was one of these things where depending on if you looked right or left, you may see a Trump supporter or a Trump protester.

SIEGEL: How much longer does the parade go on?

KHALID: You know, that's a great question, Robert, I really don't know the answer to (laughter).

SIEGEL: (Laughter) OK.

KHALID: I will say, though, we have some marching bands right in front of us. And you know, it's been going on for quite a while at this point.

SIEGEL: OK. That's NPR's Asma Khalid near the end of the inaugural parade route at the White House. Thanks, Asma.

KHALID: Bye-bye.