Trump's low approval ratings a liability or opportunity?

This is a rush transcript from "Journal: Editorial Report," January 21, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

PAUL GIGOT, FOX HOST:  Welcome to the "Journal: Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.

As we look ahead to the Trump era in Washington, we are awaiting President Donald Trump's remarks at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.  We'll bring those to you as soon as they happen.

But first, the 45th president of the United States was sworn in at noon yesterday and delivered a blunt and populist inaugural address, sounding the familiar campaign theme of the forgotten man.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  For too long, a small group in our nation's capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.  Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth.  Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed.  The establishment protected itself but not the citizens of our country.  Their victories have not been your victories.

January 20, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.  The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.


GIGOT:  Joining the panel this week, Wall Street Journal columnist, Kim Strassel; columnist and Manhattan Institute senior fellow, Jason Riley; and columnists, Mary O'Grady and Bill McGurn.

So, Bill, you have written speeches but not an inaugural address.


GIGOT:  What did you make of this one?  What message, tone was he trying to send?

MCGURN:  I think you have it right, it was a populist tone.  But I hear a lot of people saying it was dark.  I would not use the word dark.  I would use the words bleak and stark.

GIGOT:  Only bleak?


MCGURN:  I wouldn't use dark.  Dark was --


GIGOT:  More of a negative.

MCGURN:  60 Democrats did not attend this.  We had people black-clad in protest.  Listen to some of the language today.  And, look, ask yourself this, in terms of the darkness, did the people that were there supporting him, were they in a dark mood or were they in a cheerful mood?  I think the darkness is on the other side.


MCGURN:  He did use bleak terms about the ravages of the economy.  I think some of us have questions about his trade policy and this kind of thing and where that will lead.

GIGOT:  But generally speaking, do you think this was -- what message was --


MCGURN:  -- Donald Trump.  I think he was trying to say he's going to change.  I meant what I said during the election -

GIGOT:  Right.

MCGURN:  -- and we're going to change things in Washington.

GIGOT:  Yeah, that --

MCGURN:  The big question is how.

GIGOT:  Yeah.

Mary, that call to action, what I heard, he says now is the time of action. He criticized all talk, no action politicians.  He said I'm going to do the job for you.  And that just came through.  That may be what his voters will hear.  Frankly, it may be that hard-charging attitude that people need to hear in Washington.

MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY, COLUMNIST:  That's certainly what the primary voters who put him as a Republican candidate wanted to hear.  I felt like it was a primary speech.  I was disappointed with it.  I thought it was dystopia.  I thought it was vengeful.  I thought it was marking out "us against them."  They are the enemy.  And anybody who is a factory worker, they are morally upright, but the rest of you, we will get you now.


O'GRADY:  I was really not happy with it.

GIGOT:  Kim, you talk to the Trump people.  What do you think they're trying to do with the speech?  There's no question he was populous in his tone.

KIM STRASSEL, WASHINGTON COLUMNIST:  Look, the reason Donald Trump is president is because -- and that speech was a reflection of why his president.  I disagree with Mary on this somewhat in that the people out there, you look at the biggest complaint that most American voters have, and this is across the board, whether or not you are a blue-collar factory worker or you are an middle-class white collar worker, they feel as though Washington has not been working on their behalf, that they had been left out of the economy, and that this wealthy, well-connected elite succeeds constantly, and they left behind.  Donald Trump struck that theme all through the election and that was the theme he said again in the inaugural address.  I think for some people, this is exactly what they signed up for.

GIGOT:  Mary, briefly.

O'GRADY:  Well, there's something to that, but i would just remind people, for example, they should put to rest, once and for, any parallel with Ronald Reagan.  Ronald Reagan talked about liberty, he talked about rising tides lifting all ships, he talked about everyone's aspirations, not just some segment that he is going to protect using higher tariffs.

GIGOT:  We have our Libertarians here.

This populism, Jason, was not anti-government.


GIGOT:  It was anti-establishment.

RILEY:  It was not an ideological speech.  You're right.  He was not Ronald Reagan.  You do not hear anything about small government or reigning in spending or anything like that.  He reminded us that he elected a non- politician, even an anti-politician.

GIGOT:  A third-party candidate, who won under the Republican label --


RILEY:  And said some pretty tough things to the people sitting right behind him, Congress, that you, these folks, right over here, he was saying, have been enriching themselves at your expense and that's going to stop.

GIGOT:  Kim, you are small-government person, as hardy as any of us.  What you make of the point that this really was not aimed at government, in the critical sense that, say, Reagan was.

STASSEL:  I think we have to be clear that this is one of the least ideological presidents this country has seen in decades and decades.  That is going to be one of the risks of this Trump presidency because Donald Trump is going to go often where public sentiment wants him to go.  That's not necessarily going to be in line with what a conservative Congress, many of whom are highly ideological, view as a correct form of governance. That's probably where we're likely to see a lot of the dissention.


MCGURN:   I agree with Kim.  I think there's two parts of Donald Trump. There's the "we are going to buy American and hire American," which I think can lend to a more big-government view.  But on issues like coal mining, we had an Obama administration trying to put an entire sector out of business. If you're an unemployed coalminer, you are going to benefit from an EPA that is not as overreaching and so forth.  So, I think we will have a mixture of both messages.  The question is, which is going to prevail.

GIGOT:  If you can blend, Mary, the populism of Trump with the conservative policy solutions that a lot of Republicans in Congress are offering, maybe you can make progress even on limited government.

O'GRADY:  Yes, that would be promising.  However, I would remind him that it wasn't just unemployed factory workers that put him in office.  It was also lots of employed people who benefit from the globalized system who want a better Supreme Court.  They asked for other things from him but they want limited government.

GIGOT:  Mary gets the last word this round, but we'll be back.

Still ahead, Donald Trump and the honeymoon that wasn't.  The new president coming in to office with a historically low approval rating, but is that a liability or an opportunity?


GIGOT:  President Trump not expected to get much of a honeymoon in Washington, coming in Washington with poll ratings well below his predecessors.  A new Fox News survey finds that just 42 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Mr. Trump as he starts his term, compared to 76 percent for Barack Obama and 58 percent for George W. Bush at the beginning of their presidencies.

Republican pollster, Ed Goeas, is president of the Tarrance Group and he joins me now from Washington.

Ed, thanks for coming in.


GIGOT:  So -- I'm great, thanks.

So, you look at these polls and it's extraordinary for a new president. Have you ever seen presidents with this low numbers at the start of office?

GOEAS:  We haven't.  But at the same time, we just finished a campaign that we're looking at numbers we had never seen before.  We talked several times on this show about the 18 percent that disliked both candidates.  At the end of the day, that ended up being the key factor in who won most of those voters and who won the election.

I think one of things we, as pollsters, will have to ask ourselves, while his overall job approval or favorability has actually improved 15 or 20 points --

GIGOT:  Since the election.

GOEAS:  -- since the election, since the campaign, are we going to need a new set of measurements to look at this president?  Trump is not going to be your typical president.  We may need new measures to test whether or not he's being successful.

GIGOT:  When you dig into the internals of these favorable and unfavorable ratings, what I see is a lot of unfavorables are related to his personal traits, temperament for the job, how he treats other people, for example. Yet, he does better on the policy, where people say I agree with Trump on the policy.

GOEAS:  It was always the case from the beginning.  He came into this race with very high name awareness and very little movement throughout the campaign.  You saw some movement in terms of intensity of the negative or intensity of the positives.  But a question we're asking that would be very telling right now -- we'll see and we won't know until we get further into this -- is a question of, are you excited, hopeful, concerned, or angry over the election.  It's about a four-way split on that.  That means that the electorate, although it's very divided, there is potential for him to solidify those that are both excited and hopeful about his presidency, and begin moving over some of those people who are concerned.  I think the likelihood is, is that if they're moved, it will be moved by the performance of him doing things.


GIGOT:  So he has to demonstrate results.  He's got to particularly demonstrate results on the economy, lifting incomes, getting things done, as he promised in the inaugural.

GOEAS:  Absolutely.  It is building a pro-growth economy that lifts the vote of everyone.  In terms of the income they're bringing in, one of the key measurements we watch closely is the question on the American dream. Do you think the American dream is getting further and further out of reach for your generation?  When you start seeing that move, that's when you're going to know that he is making people feel more comfortable that they're starting to get ahead --

GIGOT:  All right, Ed --

GOEAS:  -- and the American dream is getting back within their reach.

GIGOT:  All right, Ed, thanks.  I'm sorry, we have to go.  We have a Fox News alert.


GIGOT:  Thanks for coming.

President Trump delivering remarks at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, following a briefing with top intelligence officials.  Let's listen in.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you to the acting director, Meroe Park. Thank you for 27 years serving the United States of America here at CIA.


PENCE: It's a great privilege for me to be with you today and to have the opportunity to introduce, at his first event on his first full day, the new president of the United States, Donald Trump.


PENCE: As you can imagine, as you can imagine, it's deeply humbling for my family and I to find ourselves in this role. I'm grateful to our new president, for the opportunity he's given me, and to the opportunity the American people have given us to serve.

But it's especially humbling for me to be before all of you today, men and women of character, who have sacrificed greatly, and to stand before this hallowed wall, this memorial wall, where we remember 117 who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

I can assure you this new president and our entire team recognizes and appreciates the sacrifices of all of the men and women of the intelligence community of the United States of America.


PENCE: I've gotten to know our new president. We've traveled a lot together. When the cameras are off, two things I know for sure. Number one, I've never met anyone more dedicated to the safety and security of the people of the United States of America, or anyone who is a greater strategic thinker about how we accomplish that for this nation. In fact, to understand the life of our new president, his whole life was strategy. He built an extraordinary success in the private sector. And I know he's going to make America safe again.


PENCE: And lastly, and lastly, I can honestly tell you, all my years serving in Congress, serving as governor in my homes state, traveling cross country and seeing the connection he's made to men and women who serve and protect in every capacity in this country, I've never met anyone with a greater heart for those who, every day, in diverse ways, protect the people in the nation through their character and their service and their sacrifice.

And so, let me say, it is my high honor and distinct privilege to introduce to all of you, the president of the United States.



TRUMP: Thank you. Wow.



TRUMP: I want to thank everybody, very, very special people. And it is true, this is my first stop, officially. We're not talking about the balls and we're not talking about even the speeches. Although, they did treat me nicely on that speech yesterday.


I always call them the dishonest media, but they treated me nicely.


But I want to say, there is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump. There's nobody.


TRUMP: And the wall behind me is very, very special. We've been touring for quite a while, and I'll tell you what, 29? I can't believe it. 28. We better reduce it. That's amazing. And we really appreciate what you've done in terms of showing us something very special, and your whole group, these are really special amazing people. Very, very few people could do the job you people do. And I want to just let you know, I am so behind you. And I know maybe sometimes you haven't gotten the backing that you've wanted, and you're going to get so much backing. Maybe you'll say, don't give us so much backing.


Mr. President, please, we don't need that much backing.


But you're going to have that. And I think everybody in this room knows it.

You know, the military and the law enforcement, generally, speaking, but all of it, but the military gave us tremendous percentage of votes. We were unbelievably successful getting the vote of the military. And, probably, almost everybody in this room voted for me. But I will not ask you to raise your hands if you did.


But I guarantee a big portion because, we're all on the same wavelength. We're all on the same wavelength.


TRUMP: Right? We know. It took about Ryan about 30 seconds to figure that one out, because we know. We're on the same wavelength. But we'll do great things. We'll do great things.

We've been fighting these wars for longer than any wars we've ever fought. We have not used the real abilities that we have. We've been restrained.

We have to get rid of ISIS. We have to get rid of ISIS. We have no choice.


TRUMP: Radical Islamic terrorism, and I said it yesterday, has to be eradicated, just off the face of the earth. This is evil. This is evil.

And you know, I can understand the other side. We can all understand the other side. There can be wars between countries. There could be wars. You could understand what happened. This is something nobody can even understand. This is a level of evil that we haven't seen. And you're going to go to it and you're going to do a phenomenal job. But we're going to end it. It's time. It's time right now to end it.

You have somebody coming on who is extraordinary. You know, for the different positions of secretary of this and secretary of that and all of these great positions, I'd see five, six, seven, eight people. And we had a great transition. We had an amazing team of talent.

And by the way, General Flynn is over here.

Put up your hand.


TRUMP: What a guy.


TRUMP: And Reince, my helper. Reince, you know -- they don't care about Reince. He's like this political guy that turned out to be a super star. Right? We don't have to talk about Reince.

But we did. We had just such a tremendous, tremendous success.

So, when I'm interviewing all of these candidates that Reince said his whole group is putting in front, it went very quickly. And in this case, went so quickly, because I would see six or seven or eight who are for secretary of agriculture, who were just in the other day, Sonny Purdue, former governor of Georgia. Fantastic guy. But I'd see six or seven, eight people for a certain position. Everybody wanted it. But I'd met Mike Pompeo. That was the only guy on that. I didn't want to meet anybody else. I said, cancel everybody else. Cancel.

Now, he was approved, essentially, but they're doing little political games with me. He was one of the three. Now, last night, as you know, General Mattis, fantastic guy, and General Kelly got approved.


TRUMP: And Mike Pompeo was supposed to be in the group. It was going to be the three of them. Can you imagine all of these guys? People respect that military sense. All of my political people, they're not doing so well. The political people aren't doing so well. But we're going to get them all through, but some will take longer than others.

But Mike was -- literally, I had a group of, what, nine different people? Now, I must say, I didn't mind cancelling eight appointments. That wasn't the worst thing in the world. But I met him and I said, he is so good. Number one in his class at West Point. I know a lot about West Point. And I'm a person that very strongly believes in academics. In fact, every time, I say I had an uncle who was a great professor at MIT for 35 years, who did a fantastic job in so many ways, academically. He was an academic genius. And then they say, is Donald Trump, an intellectual. Trust me, I'm like a smart person.


And I recognized immediately. So, he was number one at West Point, and then, essentially, number one at Harvard Law School, and then decided to go to the military. He ran for Congress. And everything he's done has been a home run. People like him. But much more importantly to me, everybody respects him.

And when I told Paul Ryan that I wanted to do this, I would said, he may be the only person that was not totally thrilled.

Right, Mike?

Because he said, I don't want to lose this guy. But you will be getting a total star. You're going to be getting a total gem. This is a gem. And I just --


TRUMP: You'll see. And many of you know him anyway, but you're going to see.

And again, we have some great people going. But this one is something very special because this is one, if I had to name the most important, this would certainly be perhaps, and in certain ways, my most important. You do the job like everybody in this room is capable of doing. The generals are wonderful and the fighting is wonderful. But if you give them the right direction, boy, does the fighting become easier and, boy, lose so fewer lives and win so quickly. That's what we have to do. We have to start winning again.

When I was young, and when I was -- and I feel young. I feel like I'm 30, 35, 39.


Somebody said, are you young? I said, I think I'm young. You know, I was stopping when we were in the final month of the campaign, four stops, five stops, seven stops, speeches, speeches, in front of 25,000, 35,000 people, 15,000, 19,000, from stop to stop, I feel young. When I was young -- I think we're all so young -- we were always winning things in this country. Would win with trade. Would win with wars. And at a certain age, I remember hearing from one of my instructors, the United States has never lost a war. And then after that, it's like, we haven't won anything. We don't win any more. The old expression, to the victor belonged the spoils. You remember, they always used to say, keep the oil. I wasn't a fan of Iraq. Didn't want to go into Iraq. But I will tell you, when we were in, get out wrong. I always said, in addition to that, and I said it for economic reasons, but if you think about it, Mike, if we kept the oil, you probably wouldn't have ISIS, because that's where they made money in the first place. Should have kept the oil.

But, OK. Maybe have another chance. But the fact is -- should have kept the oil -- I believe that this group is going to be one of the most important groups in this country toward making us safe, toward making us winners again, toward ending all of the problems. We have so many problems that are interrelated to the kind of havoc and fear that the sick group of people has caused.

So I can only say that I am with you a thousand percent. And the reason you're my first stop is, as you know, I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth.



TRUMP: And they sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community. And I just want to let you know, the reason you're the number-one stop is exactly the opposite. Exactly. And they understand that, too.

Man, I was explaining about the numbers. We did a thing yesterday at the speech. Did everybody like the speech?




TRUMP: But we had a massive field of people. You saw that. Packed. I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks, and they show an empty field. I'm like, wait a minute, I made a speech. I looked out, the field was -- it looked like a million, million and a half people. They showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there. And they said, "Donald Trump did not draw well." I said, it was almost raining. The rain should have scattered away, but God looked down and said, we're not going to let it rain on your speech. In fact, when I first started, I said, oh, no. First line, I got hit by a couple of drops --


-- and I said, oh, this is too bad. But we'll go right to it. And the truth is, I stopped immediately, and then became sunny. and I walked off and it poured after I left. It poured.

But, you know, we have something that's amazing because it looked honestly like a million and a half people, whatever it was, it was, but it went all the way back to the Washington Monument. And I turn on -- by mistake -- I get this network -


-- and it showed an empty field. Said, we drew 250,000 people. Now, that's not bad, but it's a lie. We had 250,000 people literally around in the little ball we constructed. That was 250,000 people. The rest of the 20- block area, all the way back to the Washington Monument was packed. So, we caught them and we caught them in a beauty. And I think they're going to pay a big price.

We had another one yesterday that was interesting. In the Oval Office, there's a beautiful statue of Dr. Martin Luther King. And I also happen to like Churchill, Winston Churchill. I think most of us like Churchill. Doesn't come from our country, but had a lot to do with us, helped us, a real ally. As you probably now, the Churchill statue taken out, the bust. And as you also probably have read, the prime minister is coming over to our country very shortly and they wanted to know whether I'd like it back. I said, absolutely. But in the meantime, we have a bust of Churchill.

A reporter for "Time" magazine -- and I've been on the cover 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of "Time" magazine. Like, if Tom Brady is on the cover, it's one time because he won the "Super Bowl" or something. Right?


I've been on 15 times this year. I don't think that's a record, Mike, that can never been broken. Do you agree with that? What do you think?

But I will say that it was very interesting that Donald Trump took down the bust, the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King. And it was right there. But there was a cameraman that was in front of it.


So, Zeke, Zeke, from "Time" magazine, writes the story about I took it down. I would never do that because I have great respect for Dr. Martin Luther King. But this is how dishonest the media is. Now, big story, the retraction was like, where? Was it a line or do they bother putting it in? I only like to say that because I love honesty. I love honest reporting.

I will tell you, final time, although I will say it, when you let in the thousands of other people that have been trying to come in -- because I am coming back -- we have to get you a larger room.



TRUMP: We'll have to get you a larger room. You know?


TRUMP: And maybe, maybe it will be built by somebody that knows how to build. And we won't have columns.


You understand that?


TRUMP: We get rid of the columns.

But, no, I just wanted to really say that I love you, I respect you, there's nobody I respect more. You're going to do a fantastic job. And we're going to start winning again and you'll be leading the charge.

So, thank you all very much. Thank you. Beautiful.


TRUMP: Thank you all very much. Have a good time.


TRUMP: I'll be back. I'll be back.



TRUMP: Thank you.


GIGOT:  You just heard President Donald Trump wrapping up his remarks at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

He was -- he basically said I'm 1000 percent, Bill, behind the CIA.  People say I had a feud with the intelligence community.  I don't have a feud with the intelligence community and I wanted to demonstrate that by coming over here on my first day.

MCGURN:  Yeah.  And he did it, maybe, 15 minutes longer than he needed to.


MCGURN:  But this is vintage Donald Trump.  And I don't think it is such a bad thing to go and visit the community and tell me, I value the work you do, especially without he's been represented in the press.  He could've done it differently, but.

GIGOT:  But how important was it for him to demonstrate that?

MCGURN:  I think it's very important, because the image is he was at war with them and that they were at war with him.

RILEY:  I mean, it's not just imaginary.  We have the tweets.



RILEY:  But there was some feuding going on there.  He was doubting intelligence and encouraging other people to doubt intelligence.  Then, finally, he talked about Russia and their hacking of the election.  I think this was a little damage-control here.  He wanted to show they're on the same page going forward.  I think it was a smart thing to do.  But this was not some imaginary feud that --


MCGURN:  No.  Let's be clear, there was a lot of - there were a lot of exaggerated claims.  We don't know exactly what the intelligence community-- there is not agreement at this table of four people.  The idea that there is agreement across 17 agencies I think is silly.  And I think, in fact, old Bob Bartley used to say, in the intelligence reports, he wants to see the dissent and so forth, too.  And it was presented as through there's an absolute conclusion and that everyone agrees.

GIGOT:  Kim, was it important to get past those leaks and send this message at the CIA that he is not going to be engaging in regular feuds with them? Is going to be you and me and the media that he's going to be feuding with and not the CIA.

STRASSEL:  Yes, but I think, more important, was the way in which he sent that message.  He said, yes, I'm 100 percent behind you.  But if you are in that audience in the CIA, you were paying attention to a couple of other things he said.  One, he was talking about how professional Mike Pompeo, his nominee, is for the job.

GIGOT:  Right.

STRASSEL:  There are a lot of people in the CIA who felt like the agency has been a little too political over the years.  They're probably can be very happy about the idea of the change in leadership.

The other thing is when he went into it, started saying -- he gave the indication he understood the importance of intelligence for the broader fight against ISIS.  He said, if you do your job well, there'll be fewer casualties, the Pentagon can do its job better.  That suggested he understood their importance, their role, and their function, and that probably mattered.

GIGOT:  All right, thank you very much, Kim.

Protests today in the nation's capital where hundreds of thousands are gathering for the women's march on Washington and so-called sister protest in cities across the country and around the world.

Let's go to Jennifer Griffin, live on the National Mall in Washington, for the latest -- Jennifer?


We are here and the crowd has winnowed a bit behind me because they have started that march on to the White House.  There were about 500,000 people here town on the mall today.  We've taken estimates from the National Park Service as well as metro, which said that up to 200,000 metro riders had come into the city by 11:00 a.m. this morning.  That was more than all day yesterday for the inauguration.

President Trump was just speaking at the CIA, about crowd sizes and taking the media on, saying the media was underestimating the crowd size yesterday.  But I was here for the past two days, and I can tell you, this group of women, many of them wearing pink hats, a reference to that "Access Hollywood" tape that made so much news and the open-mic comments that President Trump made in that tape, they were here holding signs, and it has been a very packed crowd down here in the mall.

There has been a steady stream of Hollywood stars addressing the crowd, from Madonna, who had some fiery rhetoric talking about how angry she was about the results of the election.  Katy Perry marched with Cecile Richards, of Planned Parenthood.  There are women who came from 26 states. There are 600 similar marches taking place across the country and around the world, from Berlin to Los Angeles, to Cape Town, London.  We are getting reports from the marches.  Organizers from the women's march say their online app has crashed, there's been so much interest on the march today.

So, again, messages of unity, a message to the president on his first in office, a day after the inauguration, saying that women are going to stand together.  They will not stand for the rolling back of Roe v. Wade.  There were women legislators here and members of the Black Caucus movement. Again, Hollywood stars stood side by side.  Alicia Keys and Madonna performed.  But these women were very fired up.  A very, very large crowd here down on the mall.

Back to you, Paul

GIGOT:  All right, thank you, Jennifer Griffin, reporting from the National Mall in Washington.

Let's bring back our panel, Wall Street Journal columnists, Kim Strassel, Jason Riley, Mary Anastasia O'Grady, and Bill McGurn.

So, Mary, what do think about the method to get their goals?  Is this the right way to go the day after inauguration?

O'GRADY:  I don't want to be accused of not sticking with the sisterhood here, but I don't really understand what this march is about, unless it is just about abortion.  That's the main thing that I think people who want unfettered abortion rights are afraid of with Donald Trump.

GIGOT:  But that's not going to happen.  He's not going to do away with Roe v. Wade.

O'GRADY:  I think -- well, I think what's possible in the future, according to the way the court is shaped, is that it would be given back to the states and --

GIGOT:  What message are they -- what do you think the average American, looking at this, says, thinking, we just got new president, he hasn't been in office 24 hours, and you're protesting him at the mall.

Is that a useful way, Jason, to get what they want?

RILEY:  I don't have a problem with this.  It was a divided campaign.  He lost the popular vote by a considerable margin.  People are venting.

The congressmen who are boycotting the inauguration, this is where they should be today.  I think they should have been at the inauguration because i think elected officials have a duty to, when we're trying to peacefully transfer power, to support that.  This is a long American tradition.  This is what you do when you're upset with the leadership.

O'GRADY:  But I think, to be accurate, it's really more of a march about what the Supreme Court is going to look like when Donald Trump gets done with it.  That's the fear here and that's what their protesting.

GIGOT:  Kim, let me ask you, in the larger context of this, Trump is facing opposition at the start of his presidency like no president has in a long time.  A march like this really sends a message, in particular, to Democrats in the Senate and House not to cooperate with Trump.  Is that really their goal, that there'll be full-time opposition all the time from the start?

STRASSEL:  That's part of a goal, and that's why the Trump administration has got to make a priority on pushing back on some of the sort of phony messages that are coming out of this protest, if that's what you call it.

GIGOT:  All right, thanks, Kim.

Still ahead, we will be right back.



TRUMP:  We, assembled here today, are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power, from this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.  From this day forward, it is going to be only America first.


TRUMP:  Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families.


GIGOT:  That was President Donald Trump in his inaugural address yesterday, doubling down on his campaign theme of "America First," and vowing to make it the center of his approach to trade, immigration, and foreign policy.

So, Jason, Steve Bannon, the White House advisor, has been quoted as saying, that "This was deliberately a nationalist address."  What message do you think he was trying to send with it to the rest of the world?

RILEY:  The same message he was sending through the campaign, buy American, hire American.  It's economic nationalism.  The phrase is a little dry to some people because it was used by Isolationists --


GIGOT:  "America First," you mean?

RILEY:  Yes, "America First."  But I don't think that's necessarily where Donald Trump is going here.  I think he's talking about putting America's economic interests first.

What we don't know is how -- what policies will be put in place to follow this up.  Donald Trump's own clothing line is manufactured overseas.  He hires foreign workers at is golf clubs.  Is he going to discourage or punish companies in the U.S. who do the same thing?  We don't know where this rhetoric -- how will translate into actual policies.  And that's the real question.

Bill, one phrase, section struck me, "We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example."  He means the United States.  We will shine for everyone to follow.  I think Woodrow Wilson and liberal internationalism just got thrown under the bus.

MCGURN:  Yeah, I think Jason has a larger point, it can take very different directions.  We don't know what "America First" is.  I think the people cheering him just see it as we're going to put our interests first, we're going to make other partners bear their share of the burden.  It's sending the Twitterverse, some of our conservative friends crazy with this "America First" phrase.  But let's remember --

GIGOT:  Well, if you listen to the history, I mean, if you know the history--


MCGURN:  I do know the history.

GIGOT:  It's not good.

MCGURN:  I'll tell you one thing - yes.  Who supported "American First?" John F. Kennedy.  Who is the archenemy of the "America First" movement after FDR?  Winston Churchill, whose bust they just put back in the Oval Office.  So, I think a lot of --


I think people are looking to say this the 1930s and '40s.  That's not what people are hearing.

GIGOT:  All right, we're going to have to leave it there.

Still ahead, the new president's unconventional communication style coming under fire from some.  So, will it change now that he's president of the United States?


TRUMP:  Should I keep the Twitter going or not?  Keep it going?


TRUMP:  I think so.  I think so.



GIGOT:  The new president already coming under fire for his unconventional communication style, with nearly 70 percent of Americans in a new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll saying they don't approve of his Twitter habits. But Mr. Trump says he plans to keep tweeting during his presidency.

Here he is at last night's Liberty Ball.


TRUMP:  Let me ask you, should i keep the Twitter going or not?  Keep it going?


TRUMP:  I think so.  I think so.


TRUMP:  You know the enemies keep saying, oh, that's terrible, but it's a way of bypassing dishonest media, right?


GIGOT:  We're back with Kim Strassel, Jason Riley, Mary Anastasia O'Grady, and Bill McGurn.

First, Kim, what odds do you give the president will stop tweeting.



GIGOT:  OK, I'm with you.

So, is it a good idea for him to keep going?

STRASSEL:  He just made the point here, which is there's a long tradition among Republicans trying to figure out how to go around the media.  It stretches all the way back to Ronald Reagan.  They feel as though the media twists their words and doesn't give them a fair hearing.  So, this is a new, modern social-technology tool that Trump is embracing.

I mean, there's both great potential power and risk.  The power is when he gets on Twitter and makes the campaign out of something, it often helps him.  But the risk is he doesn't always seem to be aware of that power and, occasionally, says things that are not the most thoughtful and can cause unhappy situations, too.

GIGOT:  And particularly, on the point, Mary, he can target a company, for example, and see their stock price fall 5, 10 percent if he decides to do that.  It's sort of the unfiltered quality of it that can get -- can create trouble.

O'GRADY:  Yeah.  Add another item on the list of how he's not like Ronald Reagan.  He's not a great communicator. He may be connecting on Twitter and, as we just saw him at the CIA, he may be connecting with people already on his side and very much supporters of him, but he will have to learn to reach out to the rest of the country.  For example, the most important job of the commander-in-chief is the job he will have as a leader of the military and in the conflicts we're involved in overseas.  If he cannot go before the camera, trying to use Twitter all the time, and not go before cameras and explain to people in a focused manner, not in a rambling way, speaking off the cuff, but in a focused manner, why we're involved in these things, why they're important, why the country has stay behind them, he's going to have a lot of trouble.

GIGOT:  But he can use Twitter, Bill, as a way of mobilizing his people sometimes and saying, look, here's a problem, call your Congressman.  Paul Ryan, we've learned, called Reince Priebus and said we have some members who want to modify the Office of Government Ethics, and Trump sent a tweet that Priebus asked him to send and, boom, it was shut down.

MCGURN:  Yeah.  To me, a lot of this is, you might as well as say, should he use a cell phone or not.  It's a piece of technology.  It's how you use it, what you say in it.  If you are going to talk about a beauty queen, probably no, right?


GIGOT:  Right.

MCGURN:  But if you're going to go around -- look, it's also very important that one of the things the press resents is this does go around them.  And I think one of the things in his feud with the press is not -- should be not to punish the press but to democratize information, to give it out more broadly when you're giving it out to everyone, and not just a select group--


GIGOT:  And not to pick on certain individuals.  Not to comment on Arnold Schwarzenegger's job --

MCGURN:  Right.


GIGOT:  -- on "Celebrity Apprentice."  Perhaps, not presidential.

MCGURN:  I don't know.  Barack Obama did that on late-night TV.


GIGOT:  All right.  That's it for this week's show.  Thanks to my panel. Thanks to all of you for watching.  I'm Paul Gigot.  We hope to see you right here next week.


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