Sarah Palin Links Son's Domestic Violence Arrest to PTSD, President Obama's Stance on Vets

"My son, like so many others, they come back a bit different. They come back hardened," Sarah Palin said of her son Track, who served in Iraq

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Photo: D Dipasupil/Getty

Sarah Palin addressed “the elephant in the room” at a rally for Donald Trump in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Wednesday, suggesting that PTSD, as well as President Obama‘s lack of “respect” for veterans, each played roles in her son Track’s domestic violence arrest.

“I can talk personally about this. 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,” Palin said at the event, where she endorsed Trump for president. “But my son, like so many others, they come back a bit different. They come back hardened.”

Track, 26, Palin’s oldest son who served in Iraq, was arrested in the family’s hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, on Monday and charged with three Class A misdemeanors: assault in the fourth degree (domestic violence), interfering with the report of a domestic violence crime and possessing weapons while intoxicated, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE. Track’s girlfriend reportedly told police he punched her in the face, kicked her in the knee and threatened to commit suicide with an AR-15 rifle, according to NBC News.

As news of Track’s arrest spread on Tuesday night, Palin family attorney John Tiemessen in Alaska gave PEOPLE this brief statement:

“We appreciate the press respecting the family’s privacy as Track receives the help that he and many of our returning veterans need.”

Palin did not explicitly point the finger at Obama in her speech but said veterans are forced to look at “our own president” 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?’ ”

“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,” she continued. “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.”

“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 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,” she said.

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