A new book co-authored by Boston College graduate Damian Paletta and fellow Washington Post journalist Yasmeen Abutaleb offers a detailed account of the White House’s actions from January 2020 to Election Day while the nation faced COVID-19. Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History (Harper, 2021) is based on extensive reporting and interviews with some 180 people, including White House senior staff members and government health leaders. Paletta and Abutaleb reveal the numerous times officials tried to dissuade Trump from following his worst impulses as he defied recommendations from the experts and even members of his own administration. And they show how the petty backstabbing and rivalries among cabinet members, staff, and aides created a toxic environment of blame, sycophancy, and political pressure. Even after an outbreak that swept through the White House and infected Trump himself, he remained defiant in his approach to the virus, say the authors. Paletta is the economics editor at the Washington Post and previously covered the White House for the Post and the Wall Street Journal. An excerpt from the book was published in the Washington Post. The authors discussed their book on Washington Post Live | Transcript.
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