Feedback
News

Donald Trump Invites Barack Obama's Half-Brother, Malik, to Final Debate

Trump Goes All In With Politics of Distraction 2:30

They share their lineage and a last name — but that's pretty much where the similarities end.

Malik Obama, Barack Obama's half-brother, will attend the final presidential debate not to support the Democratic candidate who the president has rallied behind — but rather, as a guest of Republican nominee Donald Trump.

"I'm excited to be at the debate. Trump can make America great again," Malik told the New York Post on Tuesday.

Trump keeps up 'rigged' system claims 5:41

The Trump campaign confirmed to NBC News that it was bringing Malik to the debate in addition to other guests, including Patricia Smith, the mother of a victim of the 2012 Benghazi, Libya, attack who has said she blames Hillary Clinton "personally for the death of my son."

Related: Who Is Trump Debate Guest and Hillary Clinton Critic Patricia Smith?

In Malik, Trump has found an enthusiastic supporter who isn't afraid to criticize Democrats just because he's related to Barack Obama.

Malik revealed in July that he planned to vote for Trump, prompting Trump to tweet, "[He] was probably treated badly by president — like everybody else!"

Malik, who at 58 is three years older than his famous half-sibling, was raised in Kenya and first met the future president in 1985, when they were in their 20s. The firstborn son of their father, Barack Hussein Obama Sr., Malik has said he and Barack Obama at one point shared a close bond — and even served as best men in each other's weddings.

But their relationship deteriorated over the years.

Malik did not return inquiries from NBC News. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday he hadn't spoken to the president about Malik's attendance at the debate and he didn't anticipate Barack Obama "will spend a lot of time thinking about it."

Image: Malik Obama, the older brother of  US President Barack Obama
Malik Obama, the older brother of President Barack Obama, who holds an undated picture of Barack and himself and an unidentified friend in his shop in Siaya, eastern Kenya on Sept. 14, 2004. KAREL PRINSLOO / ASSOCIATED PRESS

An American citizen, Malik splits his time between the tiny western Kenya village of Nyangoma-Kogelo and Washington, according to The Associated Press.

In 2013, he tried his own hand at politics, running for governor in his home county of Siaya In Kenya. But he lost by a landslide and criticized Obama for not endorsing him.

Image: KENYA-POLITICS-OBAMA
President Barack Obama's Kenyan half brother, Malik Obama addresses supporters near Nyang'oma in Kogelo, now renowned as the Obama's traditional home on Jan. 16, 2013. TONY KARUMBA / AFP/Getty Images

Malik runs the Barack H. Obama Foundation, which does humanitarian projects. Its website makes clear that the foundation is "in memory of their father, and is not dependent on the endorsement of his brother, President Barack Obama."

Obama Sr. was killed in a car crash in 1982 and left behind three wives, a daughter and six sons, according to the AP. One son died in 1984.

Another son, Mark Obama Ndesandjo, told the AP he doesn't agree with Malik's decision to be Trump's guest Wednesday night.

"I love my brothers, but no one member represents the Obamas," Ndesandjo, an American who lives in China, said in an email. Ndesandjo did not return a request for comment from NBC News.

Part of Malik's interest in Donald Trump is his strong belief in the institution of marriage. Malik has at least three current wives, and he made headlines in 2011 when he married a girl who was only in her teens.

Trump's other policies don't faze him. He told Reuters that he doesn't take offense to Trump's hard stance on Muslims entering the United States.

"I'm a Muslim, of course, but you can't have people going around just shooting people and killing people just in the name of Islam," he said in July.

And Malik doesn't feel the need to censor himself because of whom he's related to.

"To each his own. I speak my mind and I'm not going to be put in a box just because my brother is the president of the United States," he told Reuters.