Letter to the Editor: NU President should refrain from attending SOTU address


Ricky Fulton, UNO alum

Dear Editor,

When former University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds suddenly and unexpectedly quit last fall, the Nebraska Board of Regents had to move swiftly to hire another president for the university and its four campuses.

After an expensive and hopefully thorough search, the Regents hired Walter “Ted” Carter as the next President.

Carter is a retired United States Navy Vice Admiral and recently served as superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy. The university seemed happy to have him, and he seemed impressive when I met him at UNO’s Thompson House for a meet-and-greet.

Apparently also excited to have Carter on board in Nebraska, Rep. Jeffery Fortenberry immediately invited Carter to be the congressman’s guest at President Trump’s State of the Union Address in the first week of February.

This seemed odd, as I assumed the honor of attending the SOFU speech should go to a longer-term Nebraskan. And upon further reflection, I hope Carter, as a retired Navy guy, rejects the invite. President Trump has shown disdain for the rigid rules of the military and is disrespectful to the military. A few examples:

  • Trump pardoned the disgraced Eddie Gallagher, a former Navy Seal who was convicted and spent time in the brig for violation of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. Gallgher was charged with war crimes but, luckily for him, was not convicted of those charges. Gallagher’s appearances on Fox News delighted Trump, and Trump pardoned him.
  • After Iran’s missiles struck bases in Iraq injuring dozens of U.S. Servicemen, Trump downplayed the head injuries, calling them “headaches.” The Veterans of Foreign Wars is calling upon Trump to apologize for not treating Traumatic Brain Injuries as seriously as he should.
  • Then, you have the famous meeting between Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, other Generals and Trump where the military tried to explain to the President how dangerous the world was and how international agreements and cooperation were essential to the safety of Americans. Well, Trump was having none of that lecturing, and he called the military brass assembled there “a bunch of dopes and babies.”

Given all this, I wonder why University of Nebraska President Ted Carter would even want to attend the State of the Union Address given by Trump. I hope he comes to his senses and does not give Trump the honor of his presence.