This latest report is going to be another headache for President Obama at a time when he sure doesn’t need any more. Obama’s aunt, Zeituni Onyango, came to the U.S. in 2000 and was denied asylum in 2004, but was living here illegally since then, according to The Associated Press. Not only was she an illegal immigrant, she lives in Boston public housing and also receives $700 a month for disability. She was recently granted asylum because her relationship to President Obama could put her in danger in her native Kenya. Even though she is now here legally and she denies that the President ever intervened in her case, this is going to be another thing for Obama’s critics to hold against him. This is definitely not the first time that a president has had an embarrassing family member.
The most recent case of this, beside President Obama, was in 2003 with George W. Bush. During his brother Neil Bush’s divorce, Neil admitted that in the late 1990s he slept with women he didn’t know who just showed up at his hotel room, according to ABC News. Neil was also involved in two sketchy business deals, one of which cost taxpayers $1 billion because he was the director of a failed Colorado bank. However, none of this wound up having any effect on George W. Bush.
Roger Clinton, the brother of former President Bill Clinton, was another headache for Bill’s Presidency, and was even named “headache” by Bill’s secret service detail, according to Time. Roger was jailed for cocaine possession during Bill’s time as Governor of Arkansas and was eventually given a pardon by his brother before he left the White House. However, right before Clinton’s time as the President was over, Roger was arrested for drunken driving and disturbing the peace, and soon after was investigated by the FBI for accepting drug money for presidential pardons. This had some effect on Clinton, but didn’t stop him from getting re-elected and being a popular President.
Probably the most embarrassing sibling of a president was Jimmy Carter’s brother Billy. He was a drunk and a pot smoker who bragged to the public about doing these things in the White House. Billy’s biggest misstep was when he took a $220,000 loan from the Libyan Government and had to register as an agent for them, according to Biography. This became a Senate investigation, and probably led to the defeat of Jimmy Carter in his re-election bid against Ronald Reagan.
President Obama is already having a hard time answering to his critics over the Afghanistan War, his healthcare plan, and the economy. This latest gaffe by his aunt just might be the last straw. Bush and Clinton didn’t feel the effects of their embarrassing brothers because they were fairly popular presidents. Carter felt the effects more because he wasn’t standing on a strong pedestal to begin with, which could be the case for President Obama. He needs to damage control on a lot of issues if he wants to be re-elected in 2012.
News, “Obama’s aunt not sorry she accepted public housing,” The Associated Press
Buck Wolf, “Embarrassing Relatives Plague Presidents” ABC News
Viveca Novak, Michael Weisskopf, “New Questions About Roger Clinton’s Slippery Schemes” Time
Bio, “Billy Carter Biography, Popular name of William Alton Carter III” Biography