Former White House Photographer Reminds Us Of Obama 'Scandal' Amidst Russia News

Despite a frightening bombshell news day, one photographer is having some fun.

Peter Souza wants to remind us what kind of scandals former president Barack Obama used to stir up.


As controversial news broke about Donald Trump Jr.,  Souza, a former White House photographer, shared a blast from the past on Instagram. In it, Obama is seen reaching over the glass at Chipotle, an image that began quite a bit of controversy in 2014.

"Remember this scandal from 2014?" Souza wrote in the caption. "Just to get all the information out now: this was my fault and I'm the only one to blame. If I hadn't posted this photograph, no one would have ever known he reached over the sneeze guard at Chipotle."

On social media, the president was cheekily grilled for "presidential overreach" and "executive privilege." While some news organizations had fun with it — "Obama Leans Over Sneezeguard, Infuriates Nation" a New York Magazine headline read — others were a bit more serious.

The Washington Times, known for its conservative slant, said the picture displayed Obama's "questionable manners" and described it as an "etiquette — and food safety —  breach." The headline on their story was, "Obama called for reach-in foul at Chipotle," and plenty of users on Twitter agreed.

While some joked, the picture is a stark reminder of a different time. The Chipotle gaffe wasn't the only Obama controversy that now seems like a waste of a news cycle: Fox News anchor Sean Hannity spent a whole segment criticizing the president for using dijon mustard. Obama is still seen as a foe of military vets for saluting with his coffee in his hand. And, once, he put his feet up on the Resolute Desk, which The Washington Times said sent "shockwaves around the world."

Of course, Obama did have some legitimate scandals. Under his watch, the IRS was reportedly singling out more conservative political groups with monitoring and his administration seized phone records from Associated Press reporters

But to speak to those changing times, and the flurry of wild news stories we've become accustomed to under President Trump, Souza's picture was shared just 24 hours after The New York Times reported that Donald Trump Jr. attended a meeting with a Russian lawyer who, via email, offered "incriminating" information about former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr. accepted the invitation and brought along former campaign manager Paul Manafort and President Trump's son-in-law, who is also a senior advisor, to the meeting.

President Trump and his son Donald Jr. during a campaign appearance in February, 2016.

Trump Jr. has since said no meaningful information was offered or provided in the meeting, and the lawyer only wanted to discuss the Magnitsky Act, a law designed to curb Russia's human rights abuses.

The story points to a central question of the FBI's current investigation into Trump's campaign: did they collude with the Russian government to sway the election? (Both Trumps have denied that anyone on the campaign did so.)

While the story around Trump Jr. continues to unfold, it's nice to see Souza keeping it in context — and keeping his sense of humor.


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