The Journal Gazette
Thursday, September 10, 2020 1:00 am

Coats' criticism of president in Woodward book

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Former Indiana congressman and U.S. senator Dan Coats was among high-ranking government officials who worried about President Donald Trump's behavior in “Rage,” Bob Woodward's upcoming book about Trump.

Coats served as Trump's director of national intelligence from March 2017 until August 2019.

In Wednesday accounts by news media that have seen the book, Woodward writes that former defense secretary Jim Mattis once said to Coats, “The president has no moral compass,” and that Coats 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.”

Woodward writes that Coats suspected something nefarious behind Trump's cozy relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Coats “continued to harbor the secret belief, one that had grown rather than lessened, although unsupported by intelligence proof, that Putin had something on Trump,” CNN reported from “Rage.”

“How else to explain the president's behavior? Coats could see no other explanation,” Woodward writes, according to CNN.

The Washington Post reported that Woodward writes about a dinner interaction between Coats' wife, Marsha Coats, and Vice President Mike Pence, the former Indiana governor and congressman who recruited Dan Coats to the Trump administration.

“I just looked at him, like, how are you stomaching this?” Marsha Coats is quoted as saying in Woodward's book. “I just looked at him like, this is horrible. I mean, we made eye contact. I think he understood. And he just whispered in my ear, 'Stay the course.'”

Sign up for our daily headlines newsletter

Top headlines are sent daily