First Family Watches Inaugural Parade Along Pennsylvania Avenue
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
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."
(SOUNDBITE OF TALLADEGA COLLEGE MARCHING BAND'S PERFORMANCE OF PHARRELL WILLIAMS' "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.
(SOUNDBITE OF DIRTY PROJECTORS SONG, "ABOUT TO DIE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.