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I Alone Can Fix It

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I alone can fix it

I Alone Can Fix It – Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year. Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker’s investigative journalism might have been titled, Duck Dynasty & Survivor Meets As the World Turns.

Subtitled Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year, I Alone Can Fix It might better be described as Duck Dynasty and Survivor meet As the World Turns. Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker have put together an in-depth journalistic investigation of the Trump administration during 2020 and early 2021. They focus mainly on the covid response, the presidential campaign for the 2021-25 term of office, and the machinations involved to declare a presidential victory for themselves. The latter was particularly interesting to me because of the January 6 Committee findings not available to Leonnig and Rucker. Even without those later discoveries, these two authors unearthed amazing details and came to surprisingly accurate conclusions about the capital insurrection.

In fact, I Alone Can Fix It models investigative journalism at its finest. Leonnig and Rucker rely on interviews, any available written and electronic resources, and their own observations. They weave a story of haphazard governance and semi-controlled chaos, one not unlike what we saw unraveling on television. They also build a logical narrative of what happened when. Their set pieces are like dominos, where one event collapses into another and into still another. The reader sees how each action or inaction leads to the next. And why. For example, during the early days of the covid crisis, we watch the administration ricochet from one solution to the next. Some, like speeding up the development of multiple vaccines, turn out to be extremely effective; some, like hydroxychloroquine and bleach, end up with egregious results.

One reason why this book is so readable is its narrative line, which focuses the chaos. It moves like a compelling political thriller, except it’s not fiction. Another reason I so enjoyed I Alone Can Fix It involves the way Leonnig and Rucker bring the participants to life. These are flesh and blood men and women, breathlessly committed to President Trump’s service, endlessly dedicated to sustaining his success, and thoroughly devoted to papering over any mistakes he might have made. Reading between the lines, I think I can guess who were the most opinionated informants and who the authors trusted most. If there is a flaw to this book, it’s the fact that they couldn’t get certain people to talk, so some of the events, like Trump’s walk to the church, are seen more through the eyes of one participant rather than many.

Still, I Alone Can Fix It is a valuable contribution to political history, fixing in real time what we experienced just a few months ago. It also contains an “Epilogue” that speaks multitudes. When they were concluding their writing, Leonnig and Rucker went to Mar-a-Lago to interview the former president. Scheduled for an hour’s conversation, the three chatted for two and a half. Then the authors watched Mr. Trump work the dining room, cajoling the customers and sweet-talking potential donors. I thought this “Epilogue” was one of the most valuable parts of the book. Seeing Trump actually in action was a confirmation of the preceding four hundred-plus pages. His persona literally jumped off the page, lending credence to his ability to maneuver and manipulate.

As for the others in I Alone Can Fix It? “Duck Dynasty” and “Survivor” duking it out, hurtling from one confrontation to another crisis, vying to whisper (or yell) the final word in their leader’s ear. Even “As the World Turns,” which I faithfully watched for years, never scripted itself in such a fashion.  –  Ann Ronald

Also available by Carol Leonnig: Zero Fail, The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service; A Very Stable Genius, Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America (with Philip Rucker).

Also available by Philip Rucker: A Very Stable Genius (with Carol Leonnig).

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I alone can fix it

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