Former defence secretary called Trump ‘dangerous’ and ‘unfit’ and told colleague they may need to ‘take action’ against him, Woodward book claims

‘To him, a lie is not a lie. It’s just what he thinks. He doesn’t know the difference between the truth and a lie’

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Wednesday 09 September 2020 21:37
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President Donald Trump speaks as defence secretary James Mattis looks on during a meeting with senior military leaders at the White House
President Donald Trump speaks as defence secretary James Mattis looks on during a meeting with senior military leaders at the White House

Among the revelations in Rage, veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s new book on president Donald Trump, are blunt accounts of his conduct as told by former administration officials.

Woodward includes accounts by former defence secretary Jim Mattis, and former director of national intelligence Daniel Coats, concerning the discontent and exasperation they felt working with the president.

At one point, Woodward recounts General Mattis telling Mr Coats that he thought the president was “dangerous” and “unfit” and that they may have to “take action”, according to excerpts published by The Washington Post.

General Mattis, Mr Coats, along with former secretary of state Rex Tillerson, were often referred to as “the adults” within the Trump administration, and were thought to be able to rein in the president.

Woodward writes that General Mattis quietly went to Washington National Cathedral to pray about his concern for the nation’s fate under Trump’s command.

He told Mr Coats: “There may come a time when we have to take collective action” because the president is “dangerous. He’s unfit.”

On another occasion, Mattis said that the president “has no moral compass”.

The director of national intelligence replied: “True. To him, a lie is not a lie. It’s just what he thinks. He doesn’t know the difference between the truth and a lie.”

A wide range of topics are covered by Rage from the handling of the pandemic, racial justice, North Korea, and others from the last two years.

Woodward’s previous book on the Trump White House, Fear, was released two years ago.

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