TULSA, Okla. – While speaking to fans at a Donald Trump campaign rally in Tulsa, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin made some remarks that have now sparked a controversy among some veterans.
On Tuesday, Palin’s eldest son was arrested and charged in a domestic violence case.
According to the affidavit obtained by the New York Times, Palin’s girlfriend was found hiding under a bed. She told officers that Palin hit her on the left side of the head near her eye with a closed fist, adding that he kicked her in the knee and threw her phone before grabbing a gun.
Palin was charged with assault, interfering with reporting of a domestic violence crime and a weapons charge.
“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, every other member of the military so sacrificially have given to this country,” Palin said.
“It starts from the top. The question though it comes from our own president, when 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?” she said.
Her comments did not sit well with many veterans and organizations that help troops.
“Contrary to caricature, those with PTSD- veterans and non-veterans alike – are simply not ticking bombs who could snap at any moment. Research has shown this time and again,” wrote Brandon Friedman, the former digital media director for the Department of Veterans Affairs. “Palin’s remarks strongly suggest otherwise – that people like her son cannot control themselves. In the process, she’s perpetuating an unwarranted stigma that will almost surely cause other veterans with PTSD to hesitate in reaching out for help, especially if they think a diagnosis will hurt their careers.”
He added that veterans are far more likely to harm themselves than others.
He says that while he doesn’t want this to become a ‘political chew toy,’ he hopes that some of the politicians will use their positions to further push for veteran’s needs and mental health care.