I Alone Can Fix It Book Summary - I Alone Can Fix It Book explained in key points
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I Alone Can Fix It summary

Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker

Donald J. Trump's Catastrophic Final Year

3.8 (88 ratings)
35 mins

What is I Alone Can Fix It about?

I Alone Can Fix It (2021) is the definitive behind-the-scenes account of Donald Trump’s final 12 months in the White House. Drawing on in-depth interviews with participants in the drama, it charts how a president who was on course for reelection ended up presiding over a doomed and bloody attempt to cling on to power. Along the way, it reveals the thinking behind Trump’s dysfunctional responses to the coronavirus pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement. 

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    I Alone Can Fix It
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    Trump was slow to appreciate the threat posed by COVID-19.

    December 31, 2019. Donald Trump is celebrating New Year’s Eve in the unofficial “Southern” White House – Mar-a-Lago, his private social club in Palm Beach, Florida. 

    The president is in a good mood. A band plays Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” and guests mingle. Trump makes a toast, promising that it’s going to be a “fantastic” year.

    Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, isn’t so sure. 

    He’s just read an email from the Centers’ outpost in China. It says local staff are monitoring an outbreak of an unidentified, pneumonia-like virus in the port city of Wuhan. 

    The key message here is: Trump was slow to appreciate the threat posed by COVID-19.

    Respiratory diseases had long been the likeliest source of a global pandemic.

    A century earlier, after World War I, a deadly influenza known as the “Spanish flu” claimed millions of lives. There were more recent cases, too. In the 2000s and 2010s, outbreaks of SARS – a coronavirus – and H7N9 – a strain of “bird flu” – were contained, but public health experts like Redfield were convinced they’d be back. As he told United States senators in 2019, it was only a matter of time before another respiratory disease crossed from animals to humans. 

    The email in Redfield’s inbox suggested that had already happened. But this virus turned out to be more infectious than anything seen in a long time. By the end of the first week of January, there were hundreds of cases in China. 

    Lung scans confirmed it was a novel – or new – coronavirus. COVID-19 had arrived. 

    New cases started popping up outside China – first in Thailand, then in France. By the time COVID-19 appeared in the president’s daily briefing, infected patients had already entered the United States. 

    Redfield sounded the alarm. Alex Azar, the secretary of health, responded. On January 10, 2020, he spoke to the president. 

    But Trump was distracted by upcoming impeachment hearings. He was also angry with Azar, who had helped ban flavored e-cigarettes known as vapes. Protestors were displaying signs at Trump’s rallies with slogans like, “I vape, I vote,” and he was worried about losing this demographic. So, having ranted at Azar about vaping, Trump only half-listened to him talk about COVID-19. He soon hung up. He wanted to try on a new tuxedo. The president had a party to attend. 

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    About the Author

    Carol Leonnig is an investigative reporter at the Washington Post. The recipient of multiple Pulitzers, her work has covered everything from Russian interference in American elections to government surveillance of ordinary citizens. Leonnig is the author of Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service and is a regular on-air contributor to NBC News and MSNBC. 

    Philip Rucker is the senior Washington correspondent at the Washington Post. As the White House Bureau Chief, he led the paper’s coverage of the Trump presidency. He received both the Pulitzer Prize and the George Polk Award for his work on Russian interference in the 2016 election. Rucker is an on-air political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. 

    Who should read I Alone Can Fix It?

    • Politics buffs
    • Current affairs junkies
    • Americanophiles

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