Track Palin, son to former vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, was arrested Monday for punching and kicking his girlfriend, who police eventually found hiding under a bed. During the incident, the young veteran held an assault rifle to his head and threatened suicide.
And according to his mother, President Obama is to blame because Track has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Palin made the claim during an endorsement rally for GOP presidential candidate and billionaire Donald Trump in Oklahoma Wednesday, according to the U.S. News and World Report.
The claim, which Palin called the “elephant in the room,” has drawn widespread criticism and calls from a veteran’s group for Palin to use her position not to blame Obama but to help Track deal with his PTSD diagnosis, NBC News added.
Unfortunately, studies have shown that 21 percent of all domestic violence cases in the U.S. involve combat veterans, New York Magazine reported, so the alleged incident between Track, 26, and his girlfriend is a common and tragic story.
“It’s not President Obama’s fault that (Track Palin) has PTSD,” said the head of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Paul Rieckhoff. “PTSD is a very serious problem, a complicated mental health injury and I would be extremely reluctant to blame any one person in particular.”
On Monday night, police say Tack Palin punched his girlfriend in the eye after he learned that she’d been speaking to an ex. He proceeded to allegedly kick her in the knee while she was on the floor, and at one point held an AR-15 rifle at his head and threatened to kill himself. When police arrived, he wouldn’t cooperate; officers found Track’s girlfriend under a bed, hiding.
Track has been charged with possession of a firearm while intoxicated, assault, and interfering with the report of domestic violence. In 2014, Track was involved in a fistfight at a party in Anchorage, Alaska, but no charges were filed and no one was arrested (despite the fact that his sister, Bristol, allegedly punched the host in the face multiple times).
Track served in Iraq during George W. Bush’s presidency back in 2008 with the Alaska-based 25th Infantry Division’s 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team. At the Trump rally Wednesday night, Sarah Palin said that when her son came home, he wasn’t the same person.
“They come back hardened. They come back wondering if there is that respect for what their fellow soldiers and airmen and every other member of the military have given so sacrificially to this country, and that starts at the top. It’s a shame that our military personnel even have to question, have to wonder if they’re respected anymore.”
Palin’s implication, according to news media analysis, is that both Track’s PTSD and Obama’s lack of respect for veterans led to the domestic violence incident.
“I guess it’s kind of the elephant in the room — because my own family, going through what we’re going through today with my son, a combat vet having served in a Stryker brigade fighting for you all, America, in the war zone. It’s a shame that our military personnel even have to question, have to wonder if they’re respected anymore. It starts from the top … the question, though, that comes from our own president where they have to look at him and wonder, ‘Do you know what we go through? Do you know what we’re trying to do to secure America and to secure the freedoms that have been bequeathed us?'”
After watching Track suffer with PTSD after coming home, Sarah said she realized that “America’s finest” needed a “commander-in-chief who will respect them and honor them.” And Trump, she continued, will give them the respect they deserve.
However, Rieckhoff pointed out that Trump’s plans for helping veterans are murky and that it’s up to Palin — since her son Track is one of 7.7 million veterans suffering from PTSD — to “sound the alarm” and talk to the candidate’s campaign about what can be done for them.
And it’s critical, he noted, for Palin to “recognize that Track may need help like many veterans.”
[Photo by Mary Altaffer/AP]