Sign up for one of President Barack Obama’s email lists, and you can receive a wealth of letters from the president, free of charge. But if you’d like copies of handwritten notes from Obama to relatives in Kenya, well, that will cost you.
The New York Post reports that Obama’s older half-brother, Malik Abongo Obama, is selling two handwritten letters from Obama for $15,000 each.
Both notes are written on official White House letterhead and contain the same message, “Thanks for your prayers and support.” They also each contain Obama’s well-known personal signature of “B.O.” given to letters, or tweets, that he has composed himself.
“I wrote to Malik and didn’t know if I would get a response. I was astonished when I did. I sent a letter to a post office box in Kenya,” website curator Gary Zimet told the Post. “These letters show great interest on the president’s part in his family. They are priced at $15,000 each. We didn’t go too much into Malik’s relationship with his half-brother. I got a sense it was cordial but not overly warm.”
Obama’s half-brother has periodically made news since his famous younger sibling first entered the national spotlight. In March, Malik made an unsuccessful foray into politics, running for mayor of Kenya’s western county of Siaya.
"I can't run away from my name and association with my brother, but I have the feeling that people somewhat want to see who the brother of Obama is," Malik said at the time.
And now, it appears that Malik is doing just the opposite of running from the president’s fame by making a direct bid to profit from his family ties.
Of course, Malik isn’t the first half-brother to latch on to the president’s status for personal gain. For example, Roger Clinton has literally made a career cashing in on his proximity to former President Bill Clinton, embarking on various professional outings as a musician and actor.