Pete Souza is not only responsible for some of the most memorable snapshots of Barack Obama, but he's now also the mastermind behind some of the most expert trolling of President Donald Trump we've witnessed so far. Though some have made their shade-throwing rather obvious, the former White House photographer does so subtly, by sharing photos of Obama on Instagram that directly contrast with our current POTUS. Call it a silent protest of sorts.
On March 24, after the GOP healthcare plan to replace Obamacare failed in spectacular fashion, Souza posted a picture of Obama in 2010 before the vote on the Affordable Care Act. He shared how Obama spent time talking with Congress members ahead of the vote (which is in contrast to Trump's approach), but the kicker is when you see Obama grinning as he walked past now-Vice President Mike Pence, who was a House representative from Indiana at the time.
Before voting on the Affordable Care Act in 2010, President Obama met with many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle over the course of many months. This picture was taken at the end of a multiple hours-long meeting with the entire Republican House caucus in which he responded to dozens of questions and critiques. It was carried live on cable TV.
Souza also struck on March 17 when Trump met with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. During a press briefing inside the Oval Office, Trump seemingly refused to shake Merkel's hand. It was uncomfortable, to say the least. Souza was quick to share photos of Obama and Merkel, which did not disappoint.
After Trump appeared to cite a terror attack in Sweden that never happened (he later said he was referring to a controversial Fox News report about crime in Sweden), Souza posted a photo from 2013 of Obama with former Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. Although Souza's caption does not specifically mention the current POTUS, it's pretty obvious he's taking a jab at Trump, especially since Bildt tweeted about Trump's comments, "Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking?"
These might be the latest examples, but it's not the first time we've seen Souza take jabs at Trump.
Following the commotion caused by Trump hashing out a national security crisis in the open at his Mar-a-Lago resort, Souza weighed in on the ill-advised move by posting the following photo on Instagram. At first glance, it seems his purpose was to show the stark juxtaposition between how Obama and Trump handled sensitive information. Whereas Trump and his staffers were caught discussing private matters within camera's reach of a random resort guest, Obama is pictured in a secure enclosure conversing with others about national security affairs.
When we were on the road, national security discussions and head of state phone calls were conducted in a private, secure location set up onsite. Everyone had to leave their Blackberry outside the area. In this photo, which was taken in March 2011 and subsequently released, the President holds a discussion in El Salvador following a conference call with his full national security team.
When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Trump, their interactions elicited a semiawkward, apprehensive handshake. Shortly after, Souza posted the following photo of Obama and Trudeau, showing how their meetings were a bit more friendly.
Souza similarly reacted to the excruciatingly odd 19-second-long handshake between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by sharing this snapshot of Obama and Abe kickin' it and relaxing together.
He also posted a series of photos highlighting Obama's acceptance of refugees to offer a contrast to Trump's proposed travel ban, which barred Syrian refugees from entering the country until a federal appeals court upheld a stay on the ban.
In-between my two stints at the White House, I had almost a separate career as both a freelance photographer and then as the Washington-based photographer for the Chicago Tribune. Both of these life experiences gave me a different perspective in photographing at the White House during the Obama administration. There is a lot in the news these days about refugees. Although it is admittedly not the same as today, I did for awhile document the Kosovo refugee crisis in the late 1990's. I'll post a few pictures from my coverage in Macedonia where many of the ethnic Albanians ended up after being exiled from their country.
Then there was the time he posted this photo of Obama casually sippin' tequila alongside Mexico's president, Enrique Peña Nieto. The timing was key: the picture went up following news that Nieto had canceled a meeting with Trump.
When reports surfaced suggesting Trump's staffers were having some technical difficulties with finding light switches in the White House, Souza posted this photo with a caption that was short, sweet, and to the point.
If there's anything that's going to get us through these next four years, it's these glorious photos. Keep it up, Souza.