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Sarah Palin connects son Track’s arrest to Obama’s record on veterans issues

TULSA — Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin on Wednesday addressed her son's recent arrest — which she called “the elephant in the room” — while stumping here for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, and accused President Obama of neglecting veterans and tied that to her son’s recent domestic violence charges.

“When my own son is going through what he goes through coming back, I can certainly relate to the families who…feel these ramifications of PTSD,” she told the rowdy crowd of around 8,000 people. “And it makes me realize more than ever it is now or never for the sake of America’s finest that we have a commander-in-chief who will respect them.”

Sarah Palin's oldest son and a former member of the military, Track Palin, was arrested and charged with assault, interfering with a domestic violence report and misconduct involving weapons in Wasilla, Alaska. The news broke as Palin announced her high-profile endorsement of Trump in Iowa.

Police responded Monday to a phone call at Sarah Palin's Wasilla home, where Track Palin lives, after his girlfriend called 911 to report that Track Palin had punched her in the face. He was also, according to his girlfriend, carrying an AR-15 rifle which she feared he would use to harm himself; Track Palin allegedly began yelling, “Do you think I won’t do it?”

[Sarah Palin’s son Track arrested at her home, girlfriend ‘concerned’ he ‘would shoot himself’]

Alluding to her son’s legal troubles, Palin said she was speaking “personally” when she described soldiers “who come home from the battlefield bringing new battles with them…coming back different than when they left for the war zone.”

“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…like so many others, they come back a bit different, they come back hardened,” Palin said in Tulsa. “They come back wondering if there is that respect for what their fellow soldiers and airmen and every other member of the military so sacrificially have given to the country."

[Sarah Palin endorses Donald Trump’s presidential bid]

Palin said the United States should elect a president who will respect the military.

“It’s a shame that our military personnel even have to wonder if they have to question if they're respected anymore. It starts from the top," said Palin. "The question, though, it 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?’”

[Sarah Palin is a no-show at Trump campaign event in Iowa]

Palin did not appear as scheduled at a campaign stop with Trump Wednesday morning in Iowa before they both flew to Tulsa.

Justin Wm. Moyer contributed to this report from Washington.