trump coup capitol
Former president Donald Trump.
  • Donald Trump was "almost giddy" watching his supporters storm the Capitol on January 6.
  • Carol Leonnig, co-author of "I Alone Can Fix It," described the scene in an interview with CNN.
  • Leonnig said Trump was reluctant to call off the rioters, despite urging from daughter Ivanka.
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Donald Trump was "almost giddy" as he watched the Capitol riot unfold on TV on January 6, according to Carol Leonnig, co-author of the book "I Alone Can Fix It."

Leonnig described the scene in an interview with CNN.

"He is in the dining room, off the Oval Office, watching it and almost giddy," Leonnig said.

"Here he is seeing thousands of his supporters basically trample up to the steps, breakthrough barricades, all rallying for him, to try to stop the certification of the election for Joe Biden. And he feels really supported and emboldened by that, and again, giddy."

Leonnig said that after reports emerged of shots being fired, Trump finally became concerned because of the "optics" of the riot.

"And he, according to our sources, says 'oh, crap'. And it isn't 'oh, crap I've got to do something,' it's 'this doesn't look so good anymore,'" Leonnig said.

"The optics are bad. That is the consistent important priority for the president at that time," Leonnig said.

According to Leonnig, Trump was reluctant to call off the rioters despite them clearly committing crimes by breaching the barricades leading up to the Capitol.

"It takes though two hours for a series of aides, including his daughter Ivanka Trump and his chief of staff Mark Meadows, to get the president to get it right about calling off the dogs," Leonnig said. "But he is the last person to realize what is required and what he needs to say."

Trump eventually released a video statement in which he repeated false claims about the election being stolen and told the rioters, "We love you, you're very special."

Washington Post journalist Carol Leonnig co-authored the book "I Alone Can Fix It" with her colleague Philip Rucker.

Rucker and Leonnig interviewed a range of senior officials from the Trump administration for the book, including the former president himself.

Months after the Capitol insurrection, Trump spoke to Rucker and Leonnig about the rioters. "Personally, what I wanted is what they wanted," Trump told them, according to The Guardian.

It is Leonnig and Rucker's second book about Trump after they chronicled the first three years of his presidency in "A Very Stable Genius."

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