I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year

Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker. Penguin Press, $30 (578p) ISBN 978-0-593-29894-7
Washington Post reporters Leonnig and Rucker return (after A Very Stable Genius) with a comprehensive if stilted rundown of the tweetstorms, turf wars, denialism, and desperation that roiled the Trump administration from January 2020 to January 2021. It’s a sweeping study of bureaucratic dysfunction caused by a “poisonous, disloyal atmosphere” that engulfed the White House and federal agencies tasked with dealing with Covid-19, protests over police brutality, and the transfer of power to a Biden administration. Among the plethora of galling anecdotes, Leonnig and Rucker reveal that Trump expected the FDA to approve remdesivir as a Covid-19 treatment because Oracle founder Larry Ellison said it worked, that chief of staff Mark Meadows considered Anthony Fauci a “fearmonger” and blocked his TV appearances, and that Rudy Giuliani’s advice to Trump on election night was to “just say we won.” Unfortunately, the book’s moment-by-moment accumulation of detail grows dull at times, and the desire of Leonnig and Rucker’s largely anonymous sources to shift blame and preserve their own reputations makes it hard to parse what actually happened during controversial events such as the violent removal of protestors from Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square for a Trump photo op. This deeply sourced first draft of history is long on access but short on definitive insights. (July)
Reviewed on : 07/20/2021
Release date: 07/27/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 864 pages - 978-0-593-50387-4
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