Fact check: Passport in viral post belongs to Barack Obama’s father, not former president

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APRIL 18, 2023

Former US president Barack Obama, shown on Nov. 8, 2021. – Ian Forsyth, Getty Images

The claim: Photos show passport issued in Kenya to President Obama

An April 12 Facebook post (direct link, archive link) shows a screenshot of a tweet and several photos of a passport belonging to a man named Barack Obama.

“Many of us already knew and have been saying that he’s an ILLEGITIMATE president…. Well here’s his brother dropping some Proofs!” the post reads.

The post was shared 20 times in six days. A similar claim was made in an April 12 Instagram post that was liked more than 1,000 times in three days before being taken down after the social media user was contacted by USA TODAY.

Our rating: False

The passport shown in this post belongs to Barack Obama Sr., the former president’s father. President Obama was born in Hawaii.

Passport shows photo, birthday of President Obama’s father

The photos in the social media post originated in April 11 and April 12 tweets by Malik Obama, the half-brother of Barack Obama.

But he never claimed the photos showed the passport of the former president. His posts indicated he wanted the former president to keep the passport in his presidential library.

Malik Obama did not respond to requests for comment from USA TODAY, but he told Reuters the passport belonged to their father.

“It’s my father’s passport,” Malik Obama told Reuters via email.

The photos in Malik Obama’s tweets include several pieces of identifying information that show the passport belonged to Barack Obama Sr. Among the clearest indicators is that the man pictured in the April 12 tweet appears to be the elder Obama, pictured on the cover of a biography,  and not the 44th president.

The passport also shows it was issued in 1959 in Kenya, which was a British colony at the time, and lists June 18, 1934, as the birthday of its bearer. President Obama was born Aug. 4, 1961.

The passport’s bearer was born in Alego, Nyanza Province, of Kenya.

USA TODAY has previously debunked the claim that Obama was born in Kenya, noting that the White House released both a standard birth certificate and the long-form version of the document that demonstrated he was born in Hawaii.

When the younger Obama became the first sitting American president to visit Kenya in 2015, he commented on the importance of visiting and appreciating his family’s history.

“I traveled to Alego, the village where my family was from,” he said. “I saw the graves of my father and my grandfather. And I learned things about their lives that I could have never learned through books.”

USA TODAY reached out to the Instagram and Facebook users who shared the claim for comment.

The Associated Press and Lead Stories also debunked the claim.

Fact-check sources:


Courtesy/Source: This article originally appeared on USA TODAY