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President Trump, First Lady Attend Inaugural Balls

Jan 20, 2017
Originally published on January 20, 2017 8:41 pm
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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A number of inaugural balls are taking place right now around Washington, D.C. President Trump and first lady Melania Trump will appear at three of them - two Liberty and Freedom Balls at the Washington Convention Center and the Salute to Our Armed Services Ball at the National Building Museum. That ball is free, but admission is by invitation only. NPR's Elizabeth Blair is there, and she joins us now. And, Elizabeth, the National Building Museum is a very unusual building in normal times, what's it like there tonight?

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: Tonight it is very much a tribute to the '70s, and it's, well, you know it's a 19th century building and it's - has these very, very high ceilings and these huge columns inside, but it's kind of almost turned into a bit of a disco here. There are - it's - but it's quite beautiful. There are American flags draped from the ceiling in between the columns, and it's quite elegant.

SIEGEL: Since that ball is a salute to the armed services, I assume it's filled with people in uniform. Who's there, and what have you heard from them?

BLAIR: Yeah, that's right. Every branch of the military is represented tonight, and, yes, there are men and women in uniform of all ages. And it's - we've also talked to some first responders, a state trooper and a woman with a volunteer fire department in Pennsylvania.

SIEGEL: You mentioned it's a return to the '70s tonight at the National Building Museum, I guess that reflects some of the entertainment. Who has been performing?

BLAIR: Tony Orlando, he did his version of "Tie A Yellow Ribbon," and the country singer Josh Weather (ph). And he is from Fort Worth, Texas, and I'm told you will be serenading the first couple when they do their first dance.

SIEGEL: Ah, their first dance, and do we know what they'll be dancing to after they arrive?

BLAIR: Take a wild guess. Take a wild guess - it's "My Way."

SIEGEL: Frank Sinatra's famous song "My Way."

BLAIR: That's right, and I'm told Josh Weather has never recorded, ever sung it before live, so first time for everything.

SIEGEL: How's the food?

BLAIR: We haven't had any food, and I haven't really seen any food to be honest, but there's, you know, people are drinking and we were told that - I think it's Crown and Coke was a popular drink tonight. And, yeah, it's a good party.

SIEGEL: (Laughter) OK. And that's NPR's Elizabeth Blair. Thanks, Elizabeth.

BLAIR: Thank you.

SIEGEL: And she was reporting from the Salute to Our Armed Services Ball at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., one of the three inaugural balls that the president and Mrs. Trump will be appearing at tonight. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.