By Jack Cashill
In composing my new book, Unmasking Obama: The Fight to Tell the True Story of a Failed Presidency, I thought hard about whether I should address the question of Barack Obama’s sexuality.
Two considerations persuaded me to pursue the issue. One was the no-holds-barred media treatment of the sex life, real and imagined, of Donald Trump and Brett Kavanaugh. The second was the fact that despite Obama’s early feint to the center, his presidency was something of a golden age for gay America. A May 2012 Newsweek cover story, in fact, dubbed Obama “the first gay president.”
Understandably, the fear of offending the “black church” made Obama initially cautious about championing the LGBT cause, but there may have been another reason for his restraint. Obama faced rumors that he himself was gay. No subject made those close to Obama more nervous.
College girlfriend Alex McNear, for instance, redacted a section of a letter she shared with Obama biographer David Garrow, thinking Obama’s reflections on homosexuality “too explosive.” Her concern was understandable.
In his early twenties, Obama had written to McNear that he viewed gay sex as “an attempt to remove oneself from the present, a refusal perhaps to perpetuate the endless farce of earthly life.” Obama continued, “You see, I make love to men daily, but in the imagination. My mind is androgynous to a great extent and I hope to make it more so.” This passage did not make the hardcover edition of Garrow’s 2017 book, Rising Star.
In the less “inclusive” days of the early 1980s, no straight guy I know would ever have thought to make such an admission, especially to a “girlfriend.” Only after McNear sold the Barack Obama letters to Emory University in 2016 was Garrow able to access the original and even then with some difficulty. Garrow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning civil rights historian, included the passage above in the paperback version of his book. No one noticed.
Given the admitted bisexuality of Obama’s Hawaiian mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, and Obama’s mental indulgence in the same, the honest critic has to think hard about this excerpt from “Pop,” a poem Obama wrote about Davis while in college.
“Pop takes another shot, neat / Points out the same amber / Stain on his shorts that I’ve got on mine / and / Makes me smell his smell, coming / From me.” A therapist who blogged under the label “Neo-Neocon” hesitated to call the interaction “outright sexual abuse,” but she imagined it at the very least “a boundary violation.” She explained, “This child feels invaded—perhaps even taken over—by this man, and is fighting against that sensation.”
After Obama announced for the presidency in 2007, a fellow named Larry Sinclair fueled rumors about Obama’s sexuality when he went public with his allegations of a two-day coke and sex romp with the then-married Obama in 1999. Fearless, if nothing else, Sinclair then booked space at the National Press Club in June 2008 to detail his reputed relationship with Obama.
From the beginning, the mainstream media, including the “responsible” right, pretended Sinclair did not exist. The actual work of extinguishing Sinclair’s credibility was left to the internet’s leftist hitmen. As soon as Sinclair announced plans for the press conference, they launched an internet petition drive demanding the Press Club deny Sinclair its stage.
To its credit, the National Press Club refused to buckle. Sinclair held his conference. In watching it years later, I am impressed by how well Sinclair understood Obama’s hold on the media. If you asked a question about a black man who chose to run for president, he observed, “All of a sudden you’re called a racist, a bigot.”
A genuine character, Sinclair acknowledged up front the various crimes he had committed in years past. He wanted to take that cudgel away from the media. Sinclair then explained in exquisite detail the nature of his alleged 1999 interaction with then-state senator Obama.
He provided dates, the name of the hotel, the name of the Muslim limo driver who arranged the assignation, the specifics of their sexual interlude, as well as insights into the menacing phone calls he received from Donald Young, a member of Reverend Wright’s church and an alleged lover of Obama’s.
More than once during the question and answer period, reporters asked Sinclair, given his “tremendous credibility problem,” why they should take him seriously. In turn, Sinclair asked the reporters “to do your jobs and find facts.” He provided them several useful leads and challenged them to follow up. Sinclair specifically asked the reporters to check Young’s phone records. He believed Obama to be complicit in the choir member’s December 2007 murder, a crime that remains unsolved to this day.
True to form, Politico quickly moved to discredit Sinclair. Its editors headlined their article from the day of the press conference, “Obama accuser has long rap sheet.” In an aside that Trump or Kavanaugh might find amusing, Politicorefused to publish Sinclair’s “outlandish” allegations because they were “unsubstantiated.” Wired, meanwhile, ran an article celebrating those leftist bloggers who succeeded in getting Sinclair arrested on an outstanding Delaware warrant just as he was leaving the Press Club.
As should be obvious, the media had stunningly different standards for Sinclair and, say, Stormy Daniels or Christine Blasey Ford. The same media that insisted we “believe the women” were not at all inclined to believe the men, at least not this man.
The same media that insisted “love is love” saw something inherently distasteful in Sinclair’s tale of consensual gay sex. The messenger in this case had to be attacked, exposed, eliminated as a threat, and that he was. To this day, few have ever heard of Sinclair. Fewer still have heard of the late Donald Young.
In fact, so quickly were Sinclair’s allegations trashed and burned, John Heilemann and Mark Halperin did not even mention Sinclair in their comprehensive look at the 2008 campaign, Game Change.
Yes, Obama did have girlfriends. In his memoir Dreams from My Father he wraps them up into one white composite girl but tells his half-sister Auma, “There are several black ladies out there who’ve broken my heart just as good.” Obama, however, does not devote a sentence to any of these imagined black ladies, and his future biographers failed to locate a single one.
Obviously, too, Obama got married. His memoir, Dreams from My Father,culminates in his wedding to Michelle. Yet he seems to have chosen Michelle with the same political calculation that he chose his church, a way of rooting himself in the African-American community. As with all previous relationships, this tale of courtship is strikingly devoid of any reference to love, sex, or romance.
At his most passionate, Obama says of Michelle, “In her eminent practicality and Midwestern attitudes, she reminds me not a little of Toot [his grandmother].” That description must surely have warmed Michelle’s heart, but that may have been the best Obama could do.