This secret photo of Barack Obama could have cost him the Presidency

This secret photo of Barack Obama could have cost him the Presidency

When it comes to presidential scandals, there's normally only one name that comes to mind: Donald Trump. Just in the last few weeks, he's been accused of lying about his height and weight on his medical test, has been exposed for various embarrassing and unprofessional habits in the Fire and Fury book, and has faced allegations that he paid a porn star $130,000 in order to cover up an adulterous affair they had shortly after his son, Barron, was born.

However, as flawed as Trump may be, he is far from the only politician to have ever engaged in morally-questionable behavior.

This week, it transpired that his predecessor - President Barack Obama - was the subject of a cover-up back in 2005, after he appeared in a photograph that many believed could seriously damaged his campaign for the presidency.

13 years ago, journalist Askia Muhammad took a photograph of Obama (who, at the time, was Senator for Illinois) while he was in attendance at the Congressional Black Caucus meeting.

At the time, he didn't see any problem with the picture, but he was later called by an employee of the caucus "in a panic". They demanded the photo be turned over to them, as they feared that it could have a negative impact on Obama's bid for political leadership.

The reason they were so concerned about the picture was that it showed the future president smiling alongside Louis Farrakhan: a religious leader for the Nation of Islam, and a known anti-semite.

Obviously, this is not quite on par with Trump's Russia collusion investigation, but - given Obama's position at the time - it put him at great risk of being marked as a supporter of the Nation of Islam. The then-senator was already the victim of conservative smear campaigns at the time the picture was taken and was facing accusations that he held Muslim beliefs. Therefore, being seen at the same event as Farrakhan (even if it was hosted by the CBC, which has nothing to do with religious or party affiliation) may have deterred potential voters from supporting him.

Muhammed said the photograph was seized and kept under wraps "all the way up until the inauguration. Then for eight years after he was president, it was kept under cover. It absolutely would have made a difference [to Obama's presidential campaign]."

The only reason it has been disclosed to the public now is that Muhammed actually kept a copy of the picture before turning it over to Leonard Farrakhan, Louis' son-in-law.

In the past, Farrakhan has made Anti-Jewish sentiments, which Obama then had to denounce during a 2008 presidential debate in Cleveland. However, the religious leader has since made more questionable comments - including one he made while supporting Donald Trump's campaign during 2016.

In March 2016, he praised the current president for not relying on the "Jewish community" to financially support his presidential bid - something that Trump himself did not comment on.

Ultimately, Obama should have been more careful in who he was affiliating himself with at events such as the CBC, but just being in the same place as another person should not have any bearing on a politician's career. Trump, on the other hand, is going to have a lot to answer for during his upcoming testimony with Mueller; and it's not going to be as easy to explain away as a simple photograph.