Don’t blame President Obama for the PTSD that Sarah Palin claims her oldest son is battling.
That was the message Wednesday from the head of a New York City-based veteran’s organization that has fought for years to get Iraq and Afghanistan war vets help with their post traumatic stress disorder.
“It’s not President Obama’s fault that Sarah Palin’s son has PTSD,” said Paul Rieckhoff, who heads Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). “PTSD is a very serious problem, a complicated mental health injury and I would be extremely reluctant to blame any one person in particular.”
Rieckhoff weighed in after Palin said her son Track’s arrest on domestic violence charges this week stemmed from the PTSD he contracted after serving with the Army in Iraq — and because of Obama’s supposed lack of “respect” for veterans.
The former GOP vice-presidential candidate made the claim at a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma after she endorsed Republican front runner Donald Trump for president.
Rieckhoff, whose organization is non-partisan, said “it’s important to recognize that Track may need help like many veterans” — and that his mother is in a position to use her influence to help him and other vets.
“This is a great opportunity for Sarah Palin to sound the alarm about PTSD,” he said. “Now that she has endorsed Mr. Trump, I would encourage her to talk with him about it. Mr. Trump’s campaign is pretty light on specifics about what he would do for veterans.”
Rieckhoff urged Palin to “resist the urge to politicize” PTSD.
“I hope this doesn’t become a political chew toy in a political campaign,” he said.
Track Palin, 26, was arrested Monday in Wasilla, Alaska after he allegedly slugged his girlfriend in the face, kicked her in the knee, and threatened suicide with an AR-15 assault rifle. He was charged with interfering with the report of domestic violence, possession of a firearm while intoxicated and assault.
This was not Track Palin’s first brush with the law. Back in 2014 he was involved in a wild brawl at a house party in Anchorage, during which his sister Bristol allegedly punched the host repeatedly in the face. No arrests were made and no charges were filed.
Track Palin served in Iraq with the Alaska-based 25th Infantry Division’s 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team for a year in 2008 — while George W. Bush was still president.