He may have worked for President Obama but Pete Souza is far from a party hack.
After all, his other White House gig was taking photographs of President Ronald Reagan, perhaps the most beloved Republican politician of the 20th century.
Souza has become a social media superstar since President Trump was elected, using his Instagram account to hilariously and oftentimes poignantly point out the stark differences between how Obama and Trump treat the highest office in the land.
In an interview talking about his new book, “Shade: A tale of two presidents,” Souza was asked if his criticism reflects a change in his own politics. Turns out it doesn’t, it’s Trump who has changed politics for all of us:
“I thought both President Reagan and President Obama respected the office of the presidency. And it’s not something that we’re seeing today from Mr. Trump,” Souza said. “I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do my civic duty and speak out.”
Souza is quick to react to the latest offensive Tweets or actions from Trump. But unlike so many others who frame those reactions in understandable outrage, Souza has become beloved for using the immediate nostalgia for Obama’s presidency as a counterpoint to Trump’s new era. For example, immediately after Trump referred to Stormy Daniels as “horse faced” in a Tweet, Souza posted a photo of Obama elegantly riding a horse with the caption: “It’s only OK to call a horse a horseface.”
He told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell: “It’s a humorous way to counteract what he does on Twitter, which is bullying people, lying about people. It’s unbecoming of a president.”
In another photo from his book, he shows Obama meeting with former FBI Director Robert Mueller, whom he calls: “One of the greatest public servants of our generation.”
On if he got feedback from Obama on the new book: “I didn’t tell him I was doing this book until a couple of weeks ago when I was already done and it was printed.”
And on speaking out against Trump: “It’s not the most comfortable thing for me to do … but I think it’s necessary at this point of time in our country. I do have a voice and I do think I should use it to speak out and to call this president out on how he’s disrespecting the office of the presidency.”