Eagle-eyed Instagrammers say Pete Souza’s timely posts of former Potus appear to undermine new US president


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Is Obama’s official White House photographer trolling Donald Trump?” was written by Elle Hunt, for The Guardian on Thursday 9th February 2017 13.39 UTC

Every day is throwback Thursday for the former chief photographer for Barack Obama in the White House, who appears to be attempting to troll Donald Trump on Instagram.

Since he created his personal @petesouza account on 21 January, Pete Souza has attracted 800,000 followers on the back of his intimate images taken behind the scenes of the Obama presidency.

The snaps he has selected, and the moments at which he has chosen to post them, have been interpreted by observant Instagrammers as throwing subtle shade at the new president.

For instance, late last month, after Trump signed an executive order banning entry to the US from seven majority-Muslim countries, Souza shared an image of Obama talking to a Muslim refugee in Kuala Lumpur:

<p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BP2YDSDBHzO/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_blank">Talking with a young refugee at a Dignity for Children Foundation classroom in 2015.</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A photo posted by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2017-01-29T13:16:19+00:00">Jan 29, 2017 at 5:16am PST</time></p></div></blockquote></body></html>”>

When Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the supreme court, Souza reposted a photo of Obama with his pick, Merrick Garland, who Republicans refused to consider for the role last year:

<p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BP81bFLBP_G/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_blank">Merrick Garland. Just saying.</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A photo posted by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2017-02-01T01:28:24+00:00">Jan 31, 2017 at 5:28pm PST</time></p></div></blockquote></body></html>”>

The same day, as reports emerged that Trump told Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto over the telephone about sending troops south of the border to take care of “bad hombres”, Souza shared a photo of Obama and Peña Nieto enjoying a tequila:

<p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BP87GQfh0JN/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_blank">This one is for Grover. President Obama sampling some tequila with President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico in 2013. @heygrover</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A photo posted by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2017-02-01T02:18:00+00:00">Jan 31, 2017 at 6:18pm PST</time></p></div></blockquote></body></html>”>

After Trump’s acrimonious phone call with Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian prime minister, was reported as evidence of the deteriorating alliance between the two countries, Souza shared a photograph of Obama conversing with Turnbull at the Asean gala dinner in Laos last September:

<p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BQBpp-fhAbm/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_blank">Talking with then Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand, left, and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia last September at the ASEAN gala dinner.</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A photo posted by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2017-02-02T22:21:47+00:00">Feb 2, 2017 at 2:21pm PST</time></p></div></blockquote></body></html>”>

And after a report by the New York Times on Sunday of meetings being conducted in the dark because White House aides were unable to find the light switches, Souza shared a photo of Obama conducting a meeting beneath at least five light sources:

<p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BQLOKfLhXQM/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_blank">Those damn lights ;)</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A photo posted by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2017-02-06T15:33:58+00:00">Feb 6, 2017 at 7:33am PST</time></p></div></blockquote></body></html>”>

More generally, Souza has highlighted the paucity of women in Trump’s cabinet:

Meeting with top advisors. This is a full-frame picture. I guess you'd say I was trying to make a point.

A photo posted by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

Souza lists his occupation in his Instagram bio as “TBD” – to be decided. He expands on his website that he “is currently a ‘free agent’, hoping that the Boston Red Sox need a utility player in the coming season”.

His previous Instagram posts as chief photographer have been archived to the @petesouza44 account, maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration along with all other digital records of Obama’s time in office.

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