cover image With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace

With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace

Nikki Haley. St. Martin’s, $29.99 (262p) ISBN 978-1-250-26655-2

Former South Carolina governor Haley (Can’t Is Not an Option) delivers a selective and self-serving account of her stewardship of her home state in the aftermath of the 2015 Charleston church shooting and her tenure as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Haley movingly describes trying to call Mother Emanuel AME’s pastor, State Senator Clementa Pickney, before she realized he was one of the shooter’s nine victims. She takes issue with President Obama for—according to her interpretation of his remarks—suggesting that the Southern “way of life” was to blame for the murders, and details the bipartisan vote to remove the Confederate flag from state house grounds. Haley admits to not knowing much about the UN ahead of her appointment (except that “most Americans didn’t like it”), but takes credit for convincing Russia and China to support sanctions against North Korea and standing up to the General Assembly’s “anti-Israel bias.” She paints Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and White House chief of staff John Kelly as “disloyal to the president,” and claims that Trump has a right “to change his mind,” even if it leads to the embarrassment of others. Haley’s unwillingness to fully address the counterarguments to her policy positions undermines her authority, and her claims to have left the UN before the 2018 midterms simply because she needed “to take a breath” will ring false to readers keeping track of how often she describes herself as “ambitious” and “no wallflower.” As groundwork for a future campaign, however, this carefully worded memoir does its job. (Nov.)