Inside Barack Obama's Tumultuous Relationship With His Republican Brother Malik

Former President Barack Obama has built a reputation as a family-oriented man. The hidden family dinner ritual he followed during his presidency, as well as his sweet relationships with his half-sisters, Auma Obama and Maya Soetoro-Ng, hint that he takes his brood quite seriously. However, not everyone in the Obama family would agree that the former president is a good person. His elder half-brother, Malik Obama, has been vocally critical of him, even making multiple unsavory tweets and comments about him.

Malik Obama was born in Kenya in 1958 to their father, Barack Obama Sr., and his first wife, Keziah Obama. Three years later, Obama Sr. and his second wife, an American named Ann Dunham, had former President Barack in Hawaii. The half-brothers met for the first time in 1985, three years after their father's tragic death. Initially, their relationship was great. In his memoir, "Dreams From My Father," Barack wrote about how Malik, called "Roy," seemed burdened by the financial help their large family desperately needed.

By 2008, Barack was a politician contesting for the presidency, and Malik was a naturalized American-Kenyan businessman. The half-brothers maintained a close relationship, but somewhere along the line, the once-tight connection turned incredibly sour.

Malik Obama's viral public attacks against Barack Obama began in 2013

In 2013, Malik Obama gave an interview to Brics Magazine shortly after contesting and significantly failing (with only 1% of the votes) in the gubernatorial race in Kenya. When asked about trying to cash in on his brother's name, he replied, "It's also my name and my birthright. Let's not forget that I was born before him." Although Barack had supported Malik's run for public office, Malik had several criticisms with thinly veiled bitterness toward his half-brother.

He disclosed that his brother didn't listen to his requests to save Libya's Colonel Gaddafi and that Barack didn't send money to their Kenyan relatives. However, he added that Michelle and Barack were doing a great job leading America. Two years later, in April, Malik Obama gave an interview to Joel Gilbert, a conservative conspiracy theorist. Gilbert had published the documentary, "Dreams from My Real Father," which falsely theorized that Obama Sr. wasn't the president's biological parent. In the interview, Malik told Gilbert he was disappointed with how his brother treated people. The businessman also explained that he'd asked Barack for $20,000 for their aunt's funeral, but Barack had said it was too much. 

By 2016, Malik's tone had largely changed, and his complaints were louder. He declared support for Donald Trump, expressing disappointment in the Obama administration — quite different from his comments years before. He also added that he would support the Republican Party because they stood against "same-sex marriage."

By 2017, Malik Obama's digs at Barack Obama became personal

During Barack Obama's political career, a rumor began circulating that he wasn't born in Hawaii but in Kenya, which would have disqualified him from being president. Shockingly, Malik Obama shared a fake birth certificate X (formerly known as Twitter) in 2017, attempting to lend it credibility. It's worth noting that their sister, Auma Obama, criticized this post, stating that Malik was jealous of the stunning transformation of Barack Obama. In 2020, he released the book "Big Bad Brother from Kenya," casting Barack in a negative light. 

He claimed that their arguments began over Barack's inauguration guest list and Malik wanting to start the Barack H. Obama Foundation (via Nairobi News). The Kenyan-American added that Barack had promised to cut him off if he did. However, this didn't deter Malik, who started the foundation. He added that Barack wanted to be worshipped and, as his older brother, he wouldn't oblige. By 2023, the relationship between the two brothers was non-existent.

On August 14 X, he called Barack a "fake ass snake," a "traitor," and claimed that the former president had rejected him as a brother. Malik further alleged that Barack had sold his soul to the devil. He also posted a throwback photo, stating that it was him and Barack when the latter was a "nobody." While it would be insightful to hear the former president's opinion on Malik, Barack has never publicly spoken negatively about his older brother.