Brayden Harrington, the 13-year-old New Hampshire boy who bonded with President-elect Joe Biden over their shared experience with stuttering, will be part of the prime-time special capping off Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday evening.
Harrington, who went viral over the summer after talking about his bond with Biden in a video at the Democratic National Convention, said Biden’s inauguration will send a special message to kids – including those grappling with stuttering. It shows them “that they matter,” he said. “It’s a huge part of our life because there’s a president being elected that has a speech issue.”
Harrington will be part of a segment introducing the President-elect’s remarks during the 90-minute “Celebrating America” special airing on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC, CNN has learned.
In the segment, Harrington reads a famous line from President John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”
Harrington, whose segment also includes appearances by former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, labor leader Dolores Huerta and the first female MLB general manager Kim Ng, told CNN “it’s an honor” to be part of the inauguration festivities as Biden is sworn in as the country’s 46th president.
“He’s come a long way and I’m pretty happy for him. When I first met him, it was in February and he came this far,” Harrington said. “He basically has the whole country in his hands, and I know he’ll be good at that.”
Harrington and Biden first met last February at a campaign event in New Hampshire. After speaking briefly along the ropeline, Biden, who worked through a stutter as a child, invited the young boy to meet with him backstage where he spoke with him about stuttering and techniques for how to deal with it.
The 13-year-old talked about that moment in one of the most powerful videos from the summer’s Democratic convention.
“He told me that we were members of the same club: We stutter. It was really amazing to hear that someone like me became vice president,” Brayden said.
“I’m just a regular kid, and in a short amount of time, Joe Biden made me feel more confident about something that’s bothered me my whole life,” he said. “Joe Biden cared. Imagine what he could do for all of us.”
Over the course of the campaign, Biden opened up about his own experience with stuttering, including at a CNN town hall.
“You know, stuttering, when you think about it, is the only handicap that people still laugh about. That (they) still humiliate people about. And they don’t even mean to,” Biden said at the town hall.
CNN first interviewed Harrington in February after his chance encounter with Biden.
“It was shocking to shake somebody’s hand who has the same trait as me and has the same thing going on,” Harrington said.