It was one of (if not) the greatest day in the lives of many on-air CNN personalities on Saturday as news organizations declared Joe Biden the 46th President of the United States. Whether it was Jake Tapper sounding like a Lincoln Project mouthpiece, Van Jones crying, Abby Phillip emulating the wokeness of millennial journalism, or cheering thousands taking to the streets during a pandemic, CNN gave us Niagara Falls-sized sample of quotes to pick from.
And that doesn’t even touch on the reality of how CNN will pivot away from the Trump White House being their top adversary both Republicans and their voters. At one point, Tapper blanketly said Republicans eroded our democratic norms and so, now that they lost, they should come back and work with (read: acquiesce to) Biden “on planet earth” like “good boys and girls.” (Video coming later)
Our Alex Christy wrote up Tapper’s first reaction to the Biden victory and Jones’s crying fit, so check that out here.
But for the rest of the zaniness from the first hour after the projections came out, you’ll find them below in a Notable Quotables-style package, presented in no particular order.
Joe Biden Should Inspire Us to Never Give Up on Our Dreams
“This is the third time Joe Biden has run for president. The third time…It’s a lesson not just about politicians — now every politician is going to run for president at least three times because if Joe Biden can do it, why can’t they do it? It’s also just a lesson for people out there watching. Don’t give up if you believe in yourself. You can actually achieve what you want to achieve despite all odds.”
— Tapper, 11:54 a.m. Eastern.
Aren’t These Crowds ‘Remarkable?’ America Is Letting ‘Steam…Out of the Tea Pot’
Chief political analyst Gloria Borger: “Can we just say something about these pictures we’re looking at? I mean, it’s kind of remarkable these people are –“
AC360 host Anderson Cooper: “It’s interesting. Obviously, any — in any election, there’s going to be people very happy and people who are not very happy. We’re certainly seeing people who are very happy coming out in the streets in Washington, D.C., by the White House. The sense of relief that you sort of get from a lot of people who are coming out is particularly interesting…I guess it’s a hope of a change in tone and obviously policies as well.”
Borger: “I think policy is going to be hugely important, but tone, I think, and…the sense of exhaustion and not having to wake up every day wondering what’s going to happen because something has been tweeted that’s so divisive, that somebody has been called a name…[T]here was so much coming at people every day that what you may be seeing there is some sort of steam coming out of the tea pot.”
— Conversation at 12:11 p.m. Eastern.
Phillip Celebrates This ‘Cathartic Moment’ for ‘Millions of Americans’
“Jake, as you said, tens of millions of Americans, for them today is a huge sigh of relief. They’ve spent four years, a majority of Americans spent four years being governed by a president they did not elect. Today, that ends for them and I think it is a cathartic moment. We have to give credence to that. It’s a cathartic moment for millions and millions of Americans.”
— Phillip, 11:28 a.m. Eastern.
Biden Won Race ‘With Decency’ and Harris Embodying Good ‘Extreme’ on the ‘Pendulum’
Tapper: “And he was able to pull it off – he was able to do so with decency, he was able to do so on his terms. He ran as Joe Biden. I’m a guy that wants to bring the country together, I’m a guy that wants to govern from the center left. I’m a guy who feels your pain, who cares about you.”
Bash: “He ran as his authentic self.”
Tapper: “And he ran as himself. And I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge that the United States of America just elected its first woman and its first woman of color as vice president. Kamala Harris, the daughter of immigrants, one from India and one from Jamaica, once again an amazing sign of what this country can be.”
Phillip: “Yeah. In some ways, this country always seems to act on a pendulum. You go from one extreme to another. I think we’re seeing the other extreme of the pendulum today.”
— Conversation at 11:29 a.m. Eastern.
Thankful More People ‘Voted for Their Lives’ to Throw Trump Out Office
Phillip: “I’ve been thinking about how difficult this year has been for so many Americans and it hasn’t been felt evenly in this country. There are millions of Americans who were disproportionately hurt by this President’s failure to deal with this coronavirus crisis. They were devastated economically. They were dying at disproportionate rates, getting disease and sickness at disproportionate rates. And I do think that they voted in their interest. They voted for their lives…And, you know, I also think about the fact we’ve had so many Americans acting heroically when their government would not act for them. Doctors and nurses and EMTs and now this week we’re seeing election workers literally risking their lives to simply count the votes.….[T]hey wanted something completely different.
Bash: “And that suffering particularly when talking about COVID isn’t going to go away any time soon….What is also really palpable right now is that people are exhausted. People are exhausted by the chaos. It’s not just the substance of what needs to be done. It’s just the feeling of wanting to get some rest. Wanting to not wake up and say, what is happening on Twitter right now…Biden gives a promise of normalcy.”
— Conversation at 11:51 a.m. Eastern.
Media Heard Trump Voters After 2016 (False), So We Must Listen to Biden Voters
“You know, I’m sitting here and I’m thinking about a little bit about four years ago and the reaction four years ago to President Trump being elected was that we need to listen to the people who elected him. I think the lesson today is that we need to listen to the people who just elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris….[T]hey are saying that they want decency back. They are saying that they want, as you said, normalcy back, Dana. They want to be able to breathe again in some way[.]”
— Phillip, 12:01 p.m. Eastern.
Hateful Jake: ‘We’ll See’ If GOPers ‘Come Back to Planet Earth’ Like ‘Good Boys and Girls’
“We’ll see how much congressional Republicans are willing to meet President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on this field of decency and normalcy. It’s not just President Trump that has been eroding norms of decency and he’s had a lot of help from a lot of people on Capitol Hill. We’ll see whether or not they want to come back to planet Earth and be good boys and girls and be decent and normal and adhere to facts and truth. I would say as a journalist trying to uphold along with everyone here those norms, come on in. The water is fine. But we’ll see what they’re ready to do.”
— Tapper, 12:02 p.m. Eastern.
Thank Goodness Voters Elected Biden, Showing ‘Character’ and ‘Values’ Mattered
“As long as I’ve been covering politics, we talk about character. In a lot of campaigns, character didn’t count, other things mattered more. And I always ask myself this question, this race, would character matter, would values matter, would that go to the top of the list. And COVID became part of that. It became part of the character issue…It became a matter of character and values. And you look at Joe Biden and that is who he is. He’s a man of empathy. You can disagree with him on all his – you know, politically you can say he’s a socialist, which of course he isn’t….[W]e always heard Joe Biden talk about himself as a transitional candidate because he is old. Now, as a president, he’s going to have to be transformational, because so much needs to be done in this country.”
— Borger, 11:34 a.m. Eastern.
Giddy Tapper Basks in Fellow Philadelphians Celebrating Biden’s Win
The Lead and State of the Union host Jake Tapper: “[T]hat’s right outside the convention center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, a city that Donald Trump has been attacking unfairly for a long time. He even got into a fight with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018 after the Eagles won the super bowl. Philadelphia delivering the margin of victory for Joe Biden that allowed CNN to call Pennsylvania. And then, therefore, call the presidency for Joe Biden. Philadelphians realizing the significant role they played in this election taking to the streets in celebration, in the birthplace of liberty we should say in this country…I had to say hi to my friends.”
Chief political correspondent Dana Bash: “I completely understand. [ABBY PHILLIP LAUGHS] And by the way, that’s happening in a lot of the cities around the country. I’m getting texts from friends who are saying that they’re out and about and they’re hearing cheering and honking.”
— Conversation at 11:49 a.m. Eastern.
Tapper: “Can I take one second to acknowledge that Philadelphia is, I think –”
Political correspondent Abby Phillip: “Your people are in the streets.”
Bash: “Wait, Jake, Jake –”
Tapper: “– that’s such a –”
Bash: — are you from Philadelphia?”
Phillip: “Jake’s people are on the screen right now.”
Tapper: “– they’re very happy.”
— Conversation at 12:26 p.m. Eastern.
Marveling at Biden Drive-In Rallies; ‘Honking Is the Sound of the New Applause’
Tapper: “I would like to note that if they are confused by the honking going on behind you, that is a mark of the new COVID era where Joe Biden would have drive-in rallies, and instead of applauding and cheering, people would honk.”
Senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny: “Right and Jake, it was at this parking lot right behind me, we saw one of the first drive-in rallies during the Democratic National Convention this summer in August. It was really an extraordinary moment as he was inside the Chase Center here delivering that acceptance speech, there were hundreds of cars outside with people, you know, coming out of their convertible rooftops or sitting on their roofs honking and we’ve seen that throughout the last several weeks of campaigning….[H[onking is the sound of the new applause.”
— Conversation at 11:46 a.m. Eastern.
Glad We’ll Have a President Who Will Be ‘Respecting Norms and Institutions’
“I think the country has just elected a man who is the polar opposite of the man who currently occupies the office and his norm-shattering presidency, which I think we can all agree it was in one way or another, is going to give way to a presidency that will be all about respecting norms and institutions and making them better and uniting the country, not dividing the country.”
— Borger, 11:41 a.m. Eastern.
Tapper Insists Most Republicans Hurled ‘Vile, Misogynist, Sexist Tropes’ at Kamal Harris
Tapper: “And can I just say one more thing about Senator Kamala Harris. And people can have policy disagreements with her, people political disagreements with her, whatever, that’s all fair game. There was an attempt by a lot of people on the right to smear her personally, to go after her personal life, to use the most vile, misogynist, sexist tropes and words to attack her. I mean, people like Rush Limbaugh. I mean, plenty of Republicans out there, Republican officials and Republican Party operatives. Just with the most disgusting and sexist smears….[I]t’s absolutely time for the United States of America to stop that crap…[I]t is time for that to go.”
Bash: “And this is going to sound so, you know, maybe you’ll be surprised by this, but I have been dying to say this. You know what I loved about 2020 and watching all these women run? You know what we didn’t hear anything about? We didn’t hear anything about what they were wearing….It was about what they were saying and what they believed and that is very refreshing.”
— Conversation at 12:28 p.m. Eastern.
Far-Left Groups, People Celebrating Are ‘A Beautiful Part of the Resistance’
“[A]ctions speak louder than words if you are a normal person. But when you’re the president of the United States, your words speak louder than your actions. And his words every day made America a nastier place and a more toxic place….The politics of joy, joy as a weapon, of groups like Sankofa, cultural groups who were going to the polls with music. They were going to the polls with entertainment and this was a part of the resistance.”
— Jones, 12:14 p.m. Eastern.
CNNers Swoon: ‘Pressure Valve’ Was ‘Released’ With ‘Role Model’ Biden Winning
Tapper: “We’re just watching the scenes of celebration in cities throughout the country. This is Washington, D.C., right now and I think it has to be said, a lot of this is relief.”
Phillip: “Oh, absolutely.”
Tapper: “A lot of this is not, oh, great, now the minimum wage will go up to $15 an hour, which is probably won’t because Republicans still control the Senate. A lot of this is not necessarily about the Green New Deal. A lot of this is, I don’t have a — I’m not going to have a president much longer who dislikes immigrants or says things that are racist or –“
Phillip: “Or doesn’t believe in science. I mean, look at all of these –“
Tapper: — or isn’t doing everything he can to protect us from the virus.
Phillip: “Look at all of these young people. I mean, they are in the streets. We were just showing what is now Black Lives Matter plaza. We are watching the continuation of what began over the summer of an enormous amount of activism in this country showing up in these very same places with some of these very same people who came out to say, we want things to change. And there’s been so much talk about whether there is enthusiasm for Joe Biden or more enthusiasm for Donald Trump, what you are seeing is, yes, relief, but enthusiasm for –”
Tapper: “For change.”
Phillip: “– a new day –”
Tapper: “Yeah, for change.”
Phillip: “– a change and a change particularly for young people who, you know, it’s not as Rick Santorum was saying, just about tone. They do care about policy. They do believe in science. And they do believe that climate change is an important thing. They do believe that systemic racism exists. That is about policy and I think that is why you’re seeing them on the streets.”
Bash: “It’s like a pressure valve is being released slowly across these cities. And I say cities on miles per hour because this is where this is happening in the largely Democratic places…But these are not elites. It’s not about being elite or not elite. This is about – and not about beliefs. This is about a particular feeling of yearning for normalcy and for a lot of people about their children and wanting their children to feel good with the president as a role model.”
— Conversation at 12:19 p.m. Eastern.
They’re Not Socially Distanced…But It’s Okay! They Have Masks! And Trump Sucks!
Tapper: “I wanna say, as we watch these scenes of celebration, the – pardon me — we’re also seeing people wearing masks.”
Tapper: “And mostly wearing masks. They are not socially distancing. I hate to be a scold here. But we just had the highest day of infections in the United States, I believe, yesterday was 125,000 Americans with new coronavirus infections. That was the third straight day of more than 100,000 infections. I — it’s good to see people wearing masks, although for some of them, they’re slipping off their face. People also need to socially distance themselves and the masks are significant, though. I mean, they are the thing that –”
Bash: “They are.”
Tapper: “– doctors say is the most important.”
Bash: “I can see Sanjay Gupta having a lot of heartburn right now.”
Tapper: “Yeah, a lot of public health officials watching this right now and….feeling concerned because of the crowds. But, again, at least they are wearing masks. It also underscores another reason why people are happy with this victory is because President Trump surrendered to the virus. I mean, like he – he – we praised him on the show for Operation Warp Speed looking for a vaccine and for the sped-up approval process when it comes to therapeutics. But when it came time to controlling the infection, he gave up. And he led the charge against it….The number one job of a president is to protect the American people. When it comes to the coronavirus, the president failed. It’s not the job of the President of the United States to necessarily unite the American people. It would be nice if that was a job. That certainly is what Joe Biden thinks his job is. Donald Trump thought his job was to divide and conquer…People can be out there celebrating for any number of reasons, but like we have – we’re in the middle of a pandemic. We’re in the middle of a time of racial justice and reconciliation. And the President didn’t lead and these people want someone who will. And whether or not that’s Joe Biden, they know it wasn’t going to be Donald Trump.”
Bash: “Yeah and the fact that you rightly pointed out that what we’re seeing isn’t the safest thing in the world for people to be out there. It is great that they’re wearing masks but the fact that we are seeing people in 2020 in the streets almost all masked is such a stark illustration of the task that Joe Biden has ahead of him….But that fact that the President refused to wear masks, refused to tell people do so while we wait for those remedies is something we’ll never get back and a lot of lives we’ll not get used to.”
Tapper: “Not just led the charge against it. He held superspreader events across the country.”
Phillip: “Yeah, I mean, I think this will be a transition like no other we’ve seen in this country. Not just because of what President Trump may or may not do but because we’re entering a phase in this country where the virus is surging and people are looking for direction and if Joe Biden will step into that gap, how will he do it is going to be such a big question for him.”
— Conversation at 12:22 p.m. Eastern.