Professional teacher’s pet, social media “troll,” and Barack Obama photographer Pete Souza recently received some tutelage in the meaning of hypocrisy, courtesy of the Trump Team.
White House social media director Dan Scavino accused Souza on Sunday of profiting from official photographs he took during Obama’s presidency, the Washington Examiner reported, after Souza claimed that Scavino violated the Hatch Act for promoting Trump’s 2020 campaign.
The Hatch Act forbids government employees from making political statements on the clock, but Scavino was using his personal account, he noted in his own defense. Souza, for his part, has published two books with pictures he took of then-President Barack Obama.
Like “Emoluments Clause” and “Russia,” the term “Hatch Act” has become a familiar soundbite from professional tattles in the news media over the last three years. Critics of President Donald Trump have repeatedly accused his staff of violating the act for expressing pro-Trump sentiments on Twitter and elsewhere, Newsweek notes.
So it was nothing especially original when Souza tweeted Saturday: “Hatch Act: Federal employees may not use their official title or authority… and engage in political activity while on duty.” The photographer attached to his message a video posted on Scavino’s personal Twitter account, which showed a truck in Florida with a Trump 2020 advertisement fixed to the back.
— Dan Scavino (@DanScavino) December 27, 2019
Scavino responded the next day by noting that he was using his personal Twitter account and turned the tables on Souza, noting his profitable work as a White House photographer for Obama.
Personal account Pete, but while I’ve got ya – please explain your 8yrs as Obama’s White House photographer and the millions of dollars you have since made from publishing photo books, using photographs taken as a federal employee, on official duty, w/ government owned equipment? https://t.co/xdiGnnqySa
— Dan Scavino (@DanScavino) December 29, 2019
Souza has published two works of hagiography on Obama; the first, titled Obama: An Intimate Portrait, contains about 300 images of Obama and a foreword from the former president. The second, Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents, attempts to belittle Donald Trump with images contrasting the two president’s personalities.
Since Souza no longer works in the White House, he’s free to tattle all he wants on the sitting president’s staffers. Indeed, Souza, who prides himself on “throwing shade” at the current president, has made no secret of his feelings toward Trump.
The photographer spawned speculation that a Situation Room photo of Trump and top staffers watching the operation to take down Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, also shared by Scavino, was staged, Newsweek reported in October. The photographer contrasted the photo with his own picture of President Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Brennan, and others watching the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
Meanwhile, Souza’s books have received lavish praise from liberal newspapers for channeling Obama nostalgia to grieving leftists. The New York Times likened Souza to a messenger from the Great Beyond, casting down pearls of wisdom to the masses: “With Mr. Obama giving few public statements since leaving office, Mr. Souza’s words and images will have to work as a conduit for now.”
But true believers often lose sight of their flaws, and it looks like Souza is no exception. It’s like Tucker Carlson said: everything the left accuses conservatives of doing, they do themselves.