It was a tale of two Americas. In Las Vegas the casinos were humming with a hell-yes tide that was about to sweep the manic Donald Trump to his most pumped-up victory yet. In Washington DC, civilisation still existed. In the week Trump’s xenophobic bid to be the Republican presidential candidate began to look unstoppable, the man whose Americanness he has questioned was meeting 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin. In Pete Souza’s official White House photograph of their get-together, President Barack Obama cracks a delicious smile as the first lady dances with McLaurin, who was invited to visit the White House in recognition of community work she has done for decades in the US capital. The meeting was also a celebration of Black History Month – and Souza’s picture manages to be both intimate and historic. Here are three African Americans in the White House. The room they are in – the Blue Room – is opulently decorated with gold stars, Empire-style furniture, and a portrait of some grand national father who holds a white handkerchief in his white hand.
This is just one in a stream of vividly human and often funny photographs – released not just through White House press office, but on Flickr and Instagram – in which Souza has documented moments of the Obama administration that will never be forgotten. These photographs are precious historical documents. Critics from left and right blame the two-term presidency of this evidently intelligent and decent man for everything from the failure to close Guantánamo Bay (he’s still trying) to a continuing economic malaise that has fuelled what is shaping up to be the most extremist presidential election since 1860. Yet Souza’s photographs tell a different story – and the one that matters. Obama accomplished the impossible and made the White House an African American home for eight years…continued”
President Barack Obama attends a Summit of the Americas Leaders’ Dinner at Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, Cartagena, Colombia, April 13, 2012. Photo by Pete Souza
First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden and Martha Stewart drop by Operation Shower, a celebration for pregnant women whose husbands are service members, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, April 13, 2011. The event was part of the launch of Joining Forces, a national initiative to support and honor America’s service members and their families. Photo by Chuck Kennedy
Audience members embrace President Barack Obama after he spoke at the Port of Tampa in Tampa, Fla., April 13, 2012. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama talks with, from left: Dan Restrepo, Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs; U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk; and Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis aboard Air Force One while en route to Tampa, Fla., April 13, 2012. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama, with Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and Marty Nesbitt, founding board member of The Barack Obama Foundation, listens to a recording of a President Johnson phone call during a tour of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, April 10, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama walks across a lock after touring the Control Tower at the Panama Canal Miraflores Locks in Ancon, Panama, April 10, 2015. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama talks on the phone in his office aboard Air Force One, April 10, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama views a replica of the Oval Office at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, April 10, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama greets Linda and Russ Dickson, a Texas couple who wrote a letter to the President about the Affordable Care Act, at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, April 10, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama autographs a sign while greeting neighbors and supporters before an event in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., April 10, 2012. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden participate in a meeting with the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force in the Vice President’s Ceremonial Office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House, Feb. 1, 2016. Photo by Pete Souza
Look how humble our PBO is as evidenced about where he is sitting. He does not have to be the center of attention or sitting in the front on an elevated chair (as LBJ did) to prove he is in charge. He has that natural confidence and power that is quietly evident in the way that he comports himself. His position also says that he has Joe’s back. Our guys are all kinds of wonderful.
I’m so excited PBO has put VPB in charge of this. Knowing this administration and PBO, they would not set these ambitious goals if they didn’t think reaching them was possible. As VP said, “Listen, I’m not Bernie Sanders…..I’m not a populist. But I’m a realist.”
I lost my Dad and other family to cancer and quite a few of my friends are fighting or have recovered from it. I’m so grateful for the Cancer Moonshot.
So, when “curing cancer” gets added to saving the economy and auto industry, bringing justice to Bin Laden, providing affordable healthcare to millions and combating climate change, how will they spin “disappointment” then?