When it comes to the family of former President Barack Obama, there are seemingly no secrets to be kept. Everyone knows about Michelle, Malia and Sasha being the model of grace and class. We know about Michelle’s mom, who the former first lady credited with teaching her how to be an effective parent. We know Malia is in college and has a boyfriend. We know Sasha is all grown up now, too.
But one family member who hasn’t been heard from in a while is the first Black president’s older half-brother, Malik Obama, who has been on his grind lately making sure people remember his name in this election cycle, for better or for worse. And after making himself available to right-wing sympathizing media in recent months, that grind has seemingly culminated in a single tweet that left nothing up to chance when it came to his political affiliations and who the 61-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen would like to see in the White House next year.
Malik Obama tweeted a photo of a $20 bill on Wednesday with the word “Trump” written on the back of a $20 bill and between two arrows that each pointed the 20 on the bottom corners. The only text that accompanied the tweet was the number, “2020.”
Setting aside the fact that Malik Obama seemingly broke the law by defacing American currency, the point was clear: He is firmly back on the Trump Train that he so proudly rode during the 2016 election.
The tweet may have also been a swipe at his half-brother, whose Treasury Department announced in his final months in office in 2016 that Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. With Trump consequently announced the following year that change would not be happening on his watch — and recently doubling down on that — Malik Obama’s tweet could be construed as yet another way to snub his nose at his younger sibling.
To anyone who was not paying attention, Malik Obama and his younger half-brother don’t have the warmest or closest relationship. The fact that Joe Biden, the presumed Democratic nominee, was Barack’s vice president probably didn’t help matters any.
“It wasn’t always this way,” the Washington Post wrote weeks before the 2016 election. “Malik Obama was his half brother’s best man when Barack Obama married Michelle. Barack Obama performed the same role at one of Malik’s weddings.”
The two fell out somewhere between 2013 and Trump’s candidacy in 2016. That’s when Malik’s pro-Trump rhetoric — allegedly because Barack wouldn’t help him in his endeavors as much as he wanted — began growing louder, going so far as to tell the New York Post that “Make America Great Again is a great slogan.”
While Malik Obama has made his famous sibling the primary focus of his media rounds, it should be noted that there has not been a single word of slander from the former president against his older half-brother. It would seem that the disdain is only one-sided, even though Malik Obama in April had some not-so-nice words to say about the former first lady, his sister-in-law, in an interview with a media outlet in Utah.
It was unclear what kind of political capital Malik Obama’s repeat endorsement of Trump carries. But chances are that the president will use Malik Obama’s tweet to fuel further disparaging remarks about Barack Obama, who Trump has repeatedly spread “birther” lies about much like that time Malik Obama circulated a fake photo that purportedly showed Barack Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate.