Photojournalist Pete Souza isn’t partisan. From 1983-1989, the lensman served as the Chief Official White House Photographer for President Ronald Reagan, capturing moments both strikingly intimate and public for the Republican icon. Then, after covering the War in Afghanistan, he began chronicling the rise of then-Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) for the Chicago Tribune, and years later, was asked by President-elect Obama to return as White House photographer.
Through his flattering photos and complimentary captions, it was evident that Souza had nothing but admiration for Obama, the first black President of the United States, and his photograph of President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and company taken on May 1, 2011, in the Situation Room during the bin Laden raid remains a political classic.
One person he is apparently not a fan of, however, is President Trump. And over the past few months, whenever the current commander-in-chief causes embarrassment, whether it’s posing with a miserable-looking Pope Francis or getting his hand swatted away several times by First Lady Melania Trump, Souza has served up a photo of Obama doing the exact opposite. Sassy caption included.
Here are the best examples of Souza shade.
“Mutual Admiration, 2016.”
During his recent trip to the Vatican, President Trump posed for several photos with Pope Francis—a man the real estate heir called “disgraceful” on the campaign trail. In the photos, the Pope looks absolutely miserable, leading people to point out how cheerful he looked when meeting with various other heads of state, including former President Obama.
The internet had a field day when First Lady Melania Trump swatted away President Trump’s hand as he went in to hold hers while walking down a red carpet in Israel—right in front of a line of cameras and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, no less. She repeated the swat a couple of days later as the pair disembarked from Air Force One in Rome, Italy. Both swats fueled pre-existing rumors that the first lady is none too pleased with POTUS, given that they do not live together, spend a great deal of time apart, and that she liked this tweet. Souza countered with a photo of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, two people who seem very much in love and are no strangers to public displays of affection, holding hands in Selma, Alabama, on March 7, 2015.
“Last Year’s Seder at the White House.”
People were left puzzled when President Trump, along with (allegedly) observant Jews Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, skipped out on April’s White House Passover Seder. The absence came on the heels of a presidential campaign that dog-whistled to white nationalists, allegations that Trump advisers Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka had ties to anti-Semitic groups, and the omission of the Jewish people in the White House’s official Holocaust Remembrance Day statement. Souza fired back with an image of then-President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and a group of Obama administration staffers at last year’s White House Passover Seder.
Last month, President Trump welcomed the terrible trio of Sarah Palin, Kid Rock, and Ted Nugent to the White House (really). And while the three were there, they posed for a series of photos in front of Hillary Clinton’s first lady portrait, mocking Trump’s opponent. Nugent had, of course, made a series of threats against former President Obama and then-candidate Hillary Clinton, Kid Rock is a racist buffoon who once starred in a sex tape with Creed’s Scott Stapp, and Sarah Palin is… Sarah Palin. Not exactly a cool crowd. Souza came with a photo of then-President Obama engaged in a serious-looking discussion with an aide while seated in front of Ronald Reagan’s presidential portrait.
“Every Person In This Photograph Is a Patriot.”
Shortly after the news broke that President Trump had fired FBI Director James Comey, the man leading a counterintelligence investigation into possible collusion between the Trump team and Russia during the election—and after Comey reportedly refused to pledge his loyalty to Trump, refused to end the investigation into Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and had requested more resources to look into Trump-Russia ties—Souza countered with a picture of President Obama in deep discussion with Comey in the Oval Office.
After President Trump received considerable heat for firing FBI Director Comey, and after the news broke that, according to a memo compiled by Comey, Trump had asked him in a secret meeting to terminate the investigation into his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn—a key figure in the ongoing Trump-Russia probe—former FBI Director Robert Mueller was hired as a special prosecutor to handle the Trump-Russia case. Here, Souza countered with a photo of then-FBI Director Mueller briefing then-President Obama in the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
“Hmm. Bet He Was Noted in the Visitor Logs.”
Back in April, President Trump decided that the White House visitor logs would remain secret—breaking with former President Obama, who made them public on a delayed basis (although redacted certain names in the interest of national security). Despite the Obama administration releasing over 6 million White House visitor logs, Trump took issue with the redactions, tweeting in 2012, “Why is @BarackObama spending millions to try and hide his records? He is the least transparent President--ever--and he ran on transparency.” Cue Pete Souza.
“First Time Meeting Angela Merkel.”
In mid-March, German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid a visit to the White House for a tete-a-tete with President Trump. But, while posing for a photo op in front of the cameras, Trump refused to shake her hand—this despite repeated requests from the photographers, as well as Merkel herself. Souza countered with a photo of then-President Obama warmly embracing Merkel during her first visit to the Obama White House in 2009.