The XX Factor

Sarah Palin Says Obama’s Lack of Support for Troops Caused Son’s PTSD, Domestic Abuse

Sarah Palin, pictured here in Washington, D.C. in September 2014, has an explanation for her son’s alleged domestic violence.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Master buzzword-manipulator Sarah Palin found occasion on Wednesday to peg her son’s alleged domestic abuse on Barack Obama’s insufficient support for American troops.

At a Tulsa, Oklahoma rally for Donald Trump, the erstwhile vice-presidential candidate addressed Track Palin’s recent arrest in poetic verse reminiscent of her rambling, kind of rhymey endorsement speech for Trump: “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.”

Track, who served in Iraq, has been charged with three misdemeanors: assault, interfering with the reporting of domestic violence, and possessing a gun while intoxicated. According to an affidavit, he punched his girlfriend in the face and, after she fell to the ground, kicked her. Sarah Palin has an answer for that:

My son, like so many others, they come back a bit different. They come back hardened. They come back wondering if there is that respect for what it is that their fellow soldiers and airmen and every other member of the military so sacrificially have given to this country, and that starts from the top. It’s a shame that our military personnel even have to wonder, if they have to question if they’re respected anymore. … 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?’

Police officers found Track’s girlfriend “hiding under the bed”; she reported that, during his alleged attack, Track placed a cocked AR-15 rifle to his head and threatened to kill himself. On Wednesday, Sarah Palin suggested that Trump would never give troops reason to doubt his support, and thus, he would prevent domestic abuse:

So when my own son is going through what he goes through coming back, I can certainly relate with other families who kind of feel these ramifications of some PTSD and some of the woundedness that our soldiers do return with, and it makes me realize more than ever, it is now or never for the sake of America’s finest that we’ll have that commander in chief who will respect them and honor them.

Domestic abuse is an epidemic among the ranks of combat veterans, who account for about 21 percent of all U.S. domestic violence. One study found that 80 percent of veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder had committed at least one act of intimate-partner violence in the past year; for nearly half, that act was a “severe” one, such as a strangling, stabbing, or shooting.

That’s a reason to fund more and better mental-health and counseling programs for veterans—funding that Congressional Republicans have occasionally blocked. But it’s not a convenient political insult to lob at the president or an excuse for a family member’s violent behavior.