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Embarrassing relatives of the White House and your house

Billy Carter (L), brother of President Jimmy Carter.
Billy Carter (L), brother of President Jimmy Carter.
Bruce Tuten/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

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When the black sheep of your family gets arrested for a DUI and says his one phone call will be to the White House, you know you've got a problem. Last week, in Farmingham, Massachusetts, police pulled over Onyango Obama after he was allegedly driving recklessly. It turns out that Obama is the half brother of President Obama's father. Not only was Onyango's blood alcohol level at 0.14, but federal law enforcement sources say he has been residing in the United States illegally. Referred to as "Uncle Omar" in the Obama family, it's said he disappeared many years ago. In defiance of a deportation order, Obama has been living a quiet life in Massachusetts. His boss at a small liquor store says he can’t believe the news, "He was a great worker. We are in total shock" Uncle Omar isn't the first relative of President Obama who has strayed off the straight and narrow. Shortly before the 2008 election, the President's aunt was found to be living illegally in Boston for years. She was later granted asylum. The White House has been tarnished by less than perfect relatives in the past. The Bush family, the Clintons, Jimmy Carter and many more have had some familial embarrassments. Who has been the most troublesome relative of prominent politicians? How could this affect President Obama? How does your family handle the black sheep?


Allan Lichtman, Presidential Historian, American University