The Way I See It (2020) Movie Script

During my eight years as
the Chief Official
White House Photographer
for the Obama administration,
I documented all the important
moments of his presidency.
The emotion,
the tough decisions,
the stressful times,
the fun times.
But also showing
what he was like as a dad... a husband,
just as a human being.
To me, that shows
how the job of the president
should be done.
Got high hopes
I got high hopes
I think it's my right
as an American citizen
to speak out when I see wrong.
And I really come at this
from a unique perspective,
not just as
a former photojournalist
but also having worked for
both the Obama
and Reagan administrations,
and seeing what it's like on
the inside of a presidency...
...whether you agree or disagree
with a president's policies,
how that president
should behave.
Got high hopes
I got high hopes...
I'm gonna throw some
shade tonight, if that's okay.
But I want to tell you first
how I... how I got there.
So, if we go back
to January 20, 2017,
President Obama left
his successor a personal note
and stuck it in the drawer
of the Resolute desk.
And the last line
of the note was:
"Michelle and I wish
you and Melania the very best
"as you embark
on this great adventure.
"And know that we stand
ready to help
"in any ways which we can.
Good luck, and Godspeed."
With that, he left the
Oval Office for the last time.
Good morning, everybody.
Good morning, sir.
Take care, sir.
Thank you.
- Bye, sir.
- Thank you, guys.
He went and said good bye
to the household staff:
butlers, ushers, groundkeepers.
And Von Everett,
who is one of the butlers
and had been there
since the Reagan years...
you can imagine
what it was like for him
to have been there for the first
African American president.
There's a tradition that
the incoming president
comes to the White House
the morning before the
inauguration for a reception.
After everyone else had
finally boarded the motorcade,
President Obama took Trump aside
to brief him on a pending
national security issue.
Uh, he escorted Trump
to the limousine.
They had to ride
in the limousine
to the Capitol together.
The guy on the far left
is Mike White.
He was the head of
the Presidential
Protective Division
of the Secret Service.
And you always see
the person in that position
behind the president
or behind the first lady.
As they were leaving the podium,
I now notice that
Mike White and his deputy
were behind Trump and Melania
and not behind President Obama.
That's when it really hit me
that this for real had happened.
You know, if I go back
to January 20, 2017...
...I'm ready for the job
to be done
because, you know, it just takes
so much out of you
physically and mentally.
There was a sense of relief...
almost excitement...
that I would not have
a BlackBerry with me
for eight years anymore.
You have no idea
how good of a feeling it was
to be done with that.
But there was
a sense of disbelief
and worry.
I was...I really was concerned
for the... the country.
To this day,
I have that same feeling.
I'm not literally
in the room anymore,
but I know what happens
in the room,
and that's what scares me
about what's happening today
in the Oval Office.
After I left the White House,
I started this
personal Instagram account.
My intention was to highlight
some of the photographs
that I had made
throughout my career.
I never intended to be vocal
in any way
about what was going on.
So, the first day, he came to me
with his photo that he wanted
to post on Instagram
with the president sitting
on the Resolute desk
and the red curtains,
and he wrote a caption,
something like,
"I like the old curtains better.
What did you think?"
And I said,
"You can't say that."
Because he had spent
eight years having no voice
and no opinion
of what was going on,
and suddenly,
here's an opinion about drapes.
And I said, "You can't do that."
Now, what I didn't tell you is
I had just seen a picture
of the redecorated Oval Office
with these gold,
ornate curtains.
And there was even a comment
on that very first post
from somebody that said,
"Pete is dropping shade
with a comment on drapes."
And I-I have to admit
I had no idea
what "dropping shade" meant.
I knew what I was doing.
I just didn't know it was calleddropping
or throwing shade.
- Don't be rude.
- Mr. President-elect,
- can you give us a question?
- Don't be rude.
You're attacking us.
Can you give us a question?
- Don't be rude.
- Can you give us a question?
No, I'm not gonna
give you a que...
When you report fake news,
which CNN does a lot,
you are the enemy of the people.
- Go ahead.
- Mr. President...
Hi, Pete.
Welcome to India.
Thank you.
It's-it's nice to be here.
Is there hope
for photojournalism?
I think there's a lot of people
doing a lot of great work,
but it-it doesn't help
when the president
of the United States
calls journalists fake news
and the enemy of the people.
I think that's really dangerous.
I-I think our president
is causing grave damage
to the institution
of the free press.
We have with us the former
Chief Official
White House Photographer
to the U.S. Presidents
Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama.
Please welcome to the stage
Pete Joseph Souza!
I want to ask you
as a photojournalist...
your commitment while
photographing is to the truth,
but when you're the Chief
White House Photographer,
uh, when you're consciously
or subconsciously building
a public image of brand Obama,
was there ever a conflict?
Yeah, I think
that's a good question.
I often say to people,
though my background
is-is a photojournalist,
certainly, when you're the
Chief White House Photographer,
you're-you're working
for the government.
But so, I didn't ever
think of it as a conflict,
because it wasn't...
I wasn't a PR photographer.
I look at myself
as a historian with a camera.
The job as the Chief Official
White House Photographer
is to visually document
the presidency for history.
So, when inauguration
rolled around,
I had in the back of my mind,
for the journey
I was about to take,
this thought:
make authentic photographs.
Think mood,
Be ready for
the fleeting moments
both big and small.
My goal was to create
the best photographic archive
of a president
that had ever been done.
Lasting images for history.
The origination of my office
was a military office
during the Kennedy
LBJ wanted somebody
to cover everything,
and he hired this guy
named Yoichi Okamoto,
who had traveled with him
as vice president.
And, you know,
Johnson was such a character
and Okamoto was
such a great photographer
that his pictures
are just amazing.
You know, more than anyone,
his work was the kind of work
that I wanted to do.
I wanted the level of access
that Okamoto had to Johnson.
That's sort of what
I was striving for with Obama.
Photographs can tell a story
just as a book can tell a story.
And it's a very special thing
because it breaks down
the idea that these people
are somehow different from us.
Yes, they have
different responsibilities,
yes, they have
greater anxieties,
but they're leading a life
that has a daily ritual to it.
Think I knew
how the job should be done,
having worked for
the Reagan administration, too.
The White House photo editor
called me up one day
out of the blue
and said, "We want you
to apply for this job."
It was totally unexpected.
You know, I'm in my 20s,
and I'd never met
a president before.
And I was just nervous.
It was kind of, like, just
sort of overwhelming to me.
I actually
turned it down at first.
A, I was not really
that into politics.
B, I was really not
the biggest fan of Reagan.
Five ways of photography.
Well, this is familiar.
But you hope that
what you're doing
is important for history, right?
Used to say journalism is
the first draft of history.
And I'm thinking, like,
here's a chance
to actually be involved
in documenting history.
The Photograph Office,
primarily, it was myself
and Fitz and Jack,
and then Pete...
but we were very much a team.
Let's lock that sucker down.
Working at the White House
as the first woman
official photographer
was a humbling experience.
I was recording for history.
Now, is Pete in?
Is Pete nice and clear?
- Yes.
- Okay. Okay.
The orchestration of
television coverage
absorbs the White House.
They provide pictures of him
looking like a leader,
confident with
his Marlboro Man walk.
A good family man.
The White House has become
more and more of a stage,
a theater,
and the question has become:
are the television networks
gonna manage that theater?
Are they gonna manage
that stage?
- Or is the White House gonna do that?
- Get ready.
They were very aware of
creating the best backdrop
possible for TV networks
and Timeand Newsweek.
Now, do you want us on either side
of the tree or what?
Well, we...
I think they want
to do one standing,
but I think,
for release purposes,
it'd be better to have you
doing something,
and my suggestion was
watering the tree.
We have two shovels.
We have a chain saw.
No, please.
Pete, it's too hot.
Can we just do
a watering the tree?
- Watering the tree is fine.
- All right.
- Uh...
- Ah!
- Did you get that, Pete?
- Yeah.
You did, huh?
I've got an idea
for another picture.
Just one more.
I've got the chain saw.
No, and you're blocking me off.
Stopping me from...
Don't just stand there.
You're supposed to be saying no.
I'm not gonna start the saw.
- No.
- What?
- All right.
- Thank you.
The amount of access you get
as the Chief Official
White House Photographer
is really totally dependent
on the relationship
that you have
with the president.
All I tried to do was
push for more access
for the behind-the-scenes
most of which were never seen
until after he had left
the presidency.
Some of the pictures
that I would make
would be fairly intimate.
After Mrs. Reagan had undergone
breast cancer surgery
at Bethesda Naval Hospital,
every day,
at the end of the day,
he would take the helicopter
and go visit her.
They were exactly
the same way together
behind the scenes
as they were in public.
There was very much a true love
and companionship
between the-the two of them.
I always felt the best pictures
I made of-of Reagan
were not from planned events.
They were things
that happened between events
and moments that
you couldn't ever predict...
they would just happen
and that really humanizes
the president
of the United States.
One of the roles
of commander in chief is
you send people into harm's way.
But then the president usually
is the one who has to go talk
to all the families
who had lost someone.
He's clearly empathetic
and compassionate,
and you can see
the emotion in their faces
as they're looking up
to see what Reagan is saying.
That's the way
a president should behave
in times like that.
In some respects,
I think it did a disservice
not to show him
in these true, authentic,
behind-the-scenes moments
more than they did.
Okay, folks.
I've always wanted to stand
on the Cabinet Room table.
Is it o...
Is it okay with you,
Mr. President?
- What'd he put up?
- "Scram."
And, Mr. President,
just half a step this way.
He's to the left,
and I'm to the right.
Another half step.
Big smiles.
Here we go.
Big smile.
I wanted this time
to talk with you
about an extremely sensitive
and profoundly important
matter of foreign policy.
Certainly, during
the Iran-Contra affair,
there were a lot of pictures
that I made where he was
agonizing over what he did
or what he didn't do.
It was a big scandal.
I made that picture
where the Tower Commission,
after this
many-month investigation,
had concluded that, in fact,
Reagan had sold arms
for hostages.
And you see that look
on Reagan's face,
who was still
somewhat in denial.
But to me, it really defines
that whole scandal
and how impactful it was
on his presidency.
I did not necessarily agree
with some of the things
that President Reagan was doing.
For example,
how long it took him
to come to grips with AIDS.
I think that, in retrospect,
is more than disappointing.
But this photo I made of him
holding a baby with HIV
did help destigmatize
the disease.
I was naive
and not as politically aware
as I should have been
at the time.
But I did feel that
he was a decent human being.
He respected other people
from all walks of life.
When, uh, Reagan had,
uh, passed away
and his body was being flown
to the West Coast,
uh, Nancy Reagan requested
that Peter be
on the plane with them.
And, of course, he had been
out of the White House
for so many years.
And Peter did that.
When I left
the White House under Reagan,
it wasn't like
I was that well-known.
So, for nine years, I was
a freelance photographer.
After that, I went to work
for the Chicago Tribune,
based in D.C.
If somebody had told me
that I would end up working
for the most iconic Republican
president of our generation
and then the most iconic
Democrat president
of our generation,
I would've said they were crazy.
What are those words?
- Yes, we can!
- Yes, we can!
Thank you, Illinois! I love you!
Thank you!
Thank you, Illinois.
- In 2004...
- Thank you, guys.
...Barack Obama was elected
to the Senate.
I didn't see his 2004 speech
at the convention
because I was traveling
with Kerry.
The hope of a skinny kid
with a funny name
who believes that America
has a place for him, too.
I remember the editors
in Chicago said to me,
"Make sure you get
a picture of Obama."
And I was like...
I didn't even know
what the guy looked like,
you know?
You're on the front
page of every paper this week.
- You're all over television.
- Right.
Everyone's calling you
the future, the savior
- of the Democratic Party.
- Well...
- So, are you?
- You know, I rank
99th out of 100 in seniority,
uh, so I-I'm gonna be
sharpening pencils
and-and scrubbing the floors,
I think,
- for the first couple of years.
- I doubt that.
Jeff Zeleny,
who was a correspondent
for the Tribune,
he came up to me one day,
and he said,
"Hey, I'm thinking of pitching
a story to the editors,
uh, following Obama's
first year in the Senate."
I love this picture because,
you know, he's got
half a sandwich in his mouth,
and then Sasha's eyeing
the other half.
This was the day I met him.
The presence of my camera
didn't bother him at all,
you know,
which is not always the case,
especially with politicians.
Did that say
anything about him to you?
Um, you know,
I found a good subject.
This was the first day
that he was in Washington
as the newly elected senator.
And Malia was six.
Senator Obama spent the day
with his family
and showing them around
and helping them understand
what it was like.
And Sasha was three.
I mean, I think he thought
I was a competent photographer.
I continued
to further that trust
as the year went by.
Why, in the age of, uh, YouTube
and so much Internet video,
do photographs
still have
a very powerful impact
in terms of covering politics?
You know, I-I-I like
the still photograph.
It stops time.
You can remember
a still photograph.
A-A lot of photojournalists now
are evolving into video,
but I still think
the still photograph,
for me, says a lot more.
I wasn't with him every day,
but I got to know him
pretty well professionally.
It-it was very clear
that he was different
from most politicians.
I hadn't really seen somebody,
especially a freshman senator,
with this kind of presence.
He had us call him Barack.
He was casual.
He would e-mail you
in the middle of the night.
he had more in common
with the people who worked
for him in their 20s
than he did with probably the
other senators in Washington.
This would have been 2005.
I went to Russia and Ukraine
and Azerbaijan with him.
We're in the middle
of Red Square,
and not a single person
recognizes him.
He was just a... a regular guy.
And then I went to Africa
with him in 2006.
In Robben Island,
we went to Mandela's cell.
- Now, the advantage of this cell...
- He had some sun.
- Not only that.
- Yeah.
You got the view of the outside.
On a clear day,
you could see Cape Town.
When we went to Kenya,
he had this meeting
with some NGOs.
And word got out
that he was in there.
And when he emerged
from this meeting,
there were, like,
thousands of people
waiting to hear him say
a few words.
When we went to Nairobi
and he gave a big speech,
I got this picture
of this guy writing down,
like, the bullet points
of what he was talking about.
It's good to see all of you.
The reception
at his grandmother's village
was, like, chaotic.
Anytime, I think,
a child comes back
to his parent's grave,
it makes you reflect on,
uh, your own life
and-and mortality, and...
uh, it makes you think
about the next generation.
My wife and I are gonna
get tested for HIV/AIDS.
So, I just want everybody
to remember
that if a U.S. senator
can get tested
and his wife can get tested,
then everybody in this crowd
can get tested.
Because you need
to know your status.
Seeing the overwhelming
response that he got in Africa,
I remember coming back
from that trip
saying that, y-you know,
I'll bet he runs for president.
I mean, just the way
people were hanging on
to his every word,
you could just see
in people's faces
that this guy was
something special to them.
Obviously, he was
very intelligent.
But I think he also had
the right temperament
to become president.
To me, this picture
really tells a story
about a young U.S. senator
about to walk out,
announce that he's running
for president,
knowing that his life
will never be the same.
And I think you can
see that in his face.
You can see the anxiety
in Michelle as she's trying
to brush off some lint
from the back of his jacket.
I knew the gravity
of the moment,
and I knew he had a shot.
I knew that once people got
to see him and hear from him
that he had a shot.
He had the kind of qualities
within him
where people...
people would relate to him.
I stand before you today
to announce...
my candidacy for president of
the United States of America.
People forget that
Hillary was so far ahead,
had so many endorsements,
that people thought
he was a total long shot.
Does Obama face
a big uphill battle
despite all the media attention
he's getting?
Uh, he will
have to deal with the issue
of only two years
in the U.S. Senate.
The media was ready to
kind of write us off
or put us in the barrel.
It was like, no, there is
this broader force out there
that's not gonna
let that happen.
American historywon't be the same again.
Americans elected a young man
with a young family,
an African American
the first ever.
It's been a long time coming,
but tonight, because of
what we did on this day,
in this election,
at this defining moment,
change has come to America.
Gibbs called me on January 5
and offered me the job.
And I just said to Gibbs,
I said, "Look,"
I said, "Here's the thing is,
if I do this,
I have to have access
to everything."
And he just said to me,
"The president-elect gets it.
There's no worries there."
And I said, "Okay,
I'll-I'll be there tomorrow."
Two days later,
I met up with Obama.
He walked in the room,
and he said, uh,
"We're gonna have some fun."
Over the horizon
She's smooth sailin'...
I think there was an enormous
amount of respect overseas
when he was elected.
I think people were just excited
that our country had finally
put prejudice aside
and elected
an African American president.
And really a different kind
of politician
that resonated around the world.
I won't wear you down
No, honey, I won't
wear you down
Pete was with the president
all the time.
I mean, he'd start
his day around 9:00.
I'd get his schedule.
But I came to learn
that the schedule
was really just
the starting point.
All right, let's go.
I covered all
the behind-the-scenes meetings,
all the Situation Room meetings.
I mean, I-I can't take
ownershipof this analogy,
but imagine trying to take
a sip of water
from a firehose
that never shuts off.
Let me be your cargo
I won't wear you down
No, honey, I won't
wear you down...
It was nonstop every day, 24-7,
always on call, always ready.
That was the challenge for me,
for my job for eight years.
Pete had walking pneumonia
one time,
and he still came to work.
I mean, if you really
want to document
the presidency for history,
you got to be there
all the time,
because you can't predict
when images are gonna happen.
Pete really wanted to be
the guy who disappears.
And that's the gift when you're
a White House photographer
is that the president doesn't
even know you're in the room.
the cabinet would be gathered
to present some really tough
decisions to the president.
You know,
there'd be chatter, chatter,
people commiserating,
and the first sign
that the president was imminent
was when Pete walked in.
Everything would freeze.
So, I don't know
what it felt like for him
for eight years to have
that chilling effect on...
on every room.
Why should historians
pay attention to what you do?
Well, I think, for me,
the-the job
of the Chief Official
White House Photographer
is important for history.
And-and that's the one thing
that I am-am concerned about
with, you know,
what's-what's happening
with the current administration,
that the access
is not the same as...
as, uh... as-as I had
for-for President Obama.
And I think history
will suffer as a result.
President Obama
puts his administration
front and center
on yet another major aspect
of the country's troubled
economic front:
the U.S. auto industry.
Early in 2009,
we were in the midst
of this big financial crisis.
I think this picture
helped show who's in the room,
the mood,
the emotion of the moment,
which was...he was about to call
the CEOs of
two automobile companies
to tell them
the federal government
was gonna take over the company.
As you recall, it was
very controversial at the time.
And I was thinking,
"Who is this man?"
How does he deal with crisis?
And I think some words
that were crossing my mind were
"leadership," "character"
and "empathy."
The more I've studied
leaders in crisis times,
whether it's Lincoln
or FDR or Teddy Roosevelt
or LBJ during
the civil rights struggle,
they had almost, like,
a family resemblance
of leadership traits,
the first one being humility,
the ability to be able
to acknowledge error
and learn from your mistakes.
I would go from there,
maybe, to empathy
as an absolutely critical
human quality...
the ability to understand
other people's points of view
and to feel
a sense of connection
to those other people.
All the leaders
that I've studied
were able to communicate
in a way to the people
so that they felt a sense of
trust in what they were saying.
They were inspired to act
because of them.
And then beyond communication
is the ability
to control emotions
and to remain cool
during difficult times.
And then at the very end,
in some ways,
you have to have
the self-confidence
to create a team
of people around you
who can criticize you,
who can question
your assumptions,
who can argue with you.
And then to accept
that it's gonna come
from the country at large
is such an important quality
in a leader.
Looking at President Obama,
he came into office
with a desire to wind down
America's wars overseas
and step up the focus at home.
But events had a way
of intervening,
especially in the Middle East.
I want to speak to you tonight
about our effort in Afghanistan.
We did not ask for this fight.
But while we've achieved
hard-earned milestones in Iraq,
the situation in Afghanistan
has deteriorated.
And as commander in chief,
I have determined
that it is in
our vital national interest
to send an additional 30,000
U.S. troops to Afghanistan.
President Obama again
and again would come back to,
"Okay, if we do
what you're proposing,
how is it likely to play out?"
He welcomed dissent
and debate and discussion.
His belief was that he would
make the best decisions
if he had been exposed to
the greatest array
of counterarguments,
alternative viewpoints.
Let's say a really difficult
backdrop like Syria.
We had tensions over that.
We have nothing
but lousy options
confronting the president.
But the person who has to live
with the consequences
and to know
that they own the outcome,
that's the president
and the president alone.
President Obama said, actually,
that he viewed the presidency
as a relay race.
You're given certain problems
when you come in.
You work on those problems.
Some of those things will not
be solved during your time.
Maybe some steps have been
taken to get that solved.
Maybe we've gone backwards
or forwards.
Wars are gonna be there
that maybe shouldn't
have been fought
or-or you wish
hadn't been fought.
Wars are gonna be there
that are left unfinished.
But it's really
that continuing march.
For me,
it is constantly important
to remind myself
why I got into this business
in the first place.
Especially when it's hard.
You look at an issue
right now like health care.
So many of us campaigned
on the idea
that we were gonna change
this health care system.
Well, here we are
with a chance to change it.
This is
an early health care speech
he was working on
with Jon Favreau.
Every page looked like this.
So, I think it really shows you
how involved he was
in the words that were
coming out of his mouth.
Don't you wish we had that now?
but I think this picture
also tells you something
about how he works
with other people.
Because instead of just
handing Jon
the marked-up draft
the next morning
when he came to the Oval Office,
he called Jon in,
and they sat on the sofa
for an hour and a half
and went over every change
that he had made.
I know how bitter
and contentious the issue
of health insurance reform
has become.
This bill is
the greatest threat to freedom
that I have seen in the 19 years
I've been here in Washington.
We've gotten caught up
in the political game
in a way that's
just not healthy.
This is Nancy-Ann DeParle,
who was as responsible as anyone
for the Affordable Care Act.
And Nancy-Ann had
two young boys,
and they never saw their mom
for, like, two years.
Like, she would leave the house
early in the morning,
and the boys
hadn't even woken up yet.
And by the time she got home,
they were often already asleep.
And that's the kind of sacrifice
that people
at the White House made.
President Obama
was aware of this.
It-it was... wasn't anything
that was ever said,
but I started noticing it
where, whenever he could,
he would make a point to
make sure the boys were invited
when the NBA basketball players
came to the White House
or events like that.
This is Nicky.
He invited him
into the Oval Office,
uh, to share
a PowerBar with him.
came to one of my book signings.
He's now a sophomore at Duke.
And, uh, told me
how much this picture
meant to him.
And he realizes now
the good work
that his mom was doing.
There was still
some lobbying to be done.
Lots of phone calls is in the...
in-in the limo
with Phil Schiliro,
his legislative director.
And I think
this was the phone call
where he realized that
they probably had enough votes.
And he took his lucky charms
out of his pocket.
I saw that he took his
lucky charms out that morning;
I was like,
"Okay, this is a good sign."
Let's get this done.
The bill is passed.
And he felt on this day
that he got something done
that bettered people's lives.
Oh, got to switch cameras here.
- Oh, sorry about that, sir.
- No problem.
- Are we all right?
- Yep.
Just got to switch, uh...
All right.
He-he caught me
in an embarrassing moment.
- WOMAN I saw.
- Where... It's, like, that's...
That never happens to me.
Sorry about that, sir.
Yeah, that was
a little embarrassing.
- Ah, man, I tell you.
- Right in front of, uh,
National Geographic,
and suddenly...
suddenly, the camera broke down.
- Golly.
- I filled the disk.
He's usually much better than
this, I promise you.
Remember, Pete,
remember, you got to take
- the lens cap off before...
- No, it wasn't the lens cap.
- The lens cap is important.
- No, no, no, it was the...
I filled the disk. I mean,
the speech was so exciting
- that I filled the disk with...
- It was...
One of the cool things
that my office did
was hang jumbo prints.
It's a tradition
that had started
with the Nixon administration.
So, we would update them
every few weeks.
There's actually only
a few dozen people
that interact with the
president of the United States
on a regular basis.
And yet, there's hundreds
of people working for him.
So, this was a way for them to
see him in a very personal way.
I think it sort of gave them
added purpose.
The first time that
we went to the U.N.,
we had a break one afternoon,
and he and Reggie Love played
basketball for, like, an hour.
Now, Reggie Love was 27
at the time,
was six-six.
He was the captain
of the Duke University
basketball team when they won
a national championship.
Barack Obama was 20 years older,
at least four inches shorter
and didn't start
for his high school basketball team.
But he's, like, the most
competitive guy I've ever met.
At one point,
President Obama goes up,
blocks Reggie's shot.
They finished the game,
and President Obama
makes a beeline towards me.
Comes up to me, and he goes,
"Did you get that block?"
And I'm, like,
scrolling through,
and I come to this picture,
and he goes... he goes,
"That's great.
Make that a jumbo."
He made Reggie sign it,
"Dear Mr. President,
nice block.Reggie Love."
Somebody came to me and said,
"We need to get these online."
Pete said,
"The White House wants us
to put pictures out on Flickr,"
which was
a photo streaming platform.
My job was to make
an edit of... from 10,000
down to what would be
about 50 pictures a week.
That was unprecedented.
No previous administration
had ever
put out as many pictures.
And I thought it was
a great way for the public
to see what was happening
behind the scenes.
When you get to be my age
and you look back at, uh,
things that happened
early in your life,
you start sort of connecting
the dots a little bit.
I was trying to remember
with Jane
when we went to Washington.
I think it was in 1965.
But we went and visited
the White House,
and we also got this book
called The White House.
And I used to look
at this book all the time.
This book was published
shortly before
Kennedy was assassinated.
And Jackie Kennedy
wrote the introduction.
She said that the book
was intended just for children.
I'm gonna get emotional
just-just reading this.
"It-it seems such a shame
that they"
meaning the kids
that visited the White House...
"should have nothing
to take away with them.
"It was hoped that they would
read more about the presidents
who interested them the most."
You know, I was one of them.
This book,
for each administration,
was-was updated subsequently.
The last version of this,
I have the cover photo
and have several photos
of-of President Obama
inside the book.
So, you talk about full circle.
This was when my mom met,
uh, President Obama
for the first time.
And he wrote, "To Lillian.
It was a joy to meet you.
Thanks for doing
such a great job with Pete."
So, this is my grandmother
and grandfather.
They were both born
in the Azores.
They emigrated within
a year or two of each other.
My parents both worked.
My mom was a nurse.
My dad was a boat mechanic.
I had no interest in anything
other than sports.
I didn't get interested
in photography
until I was in college.
If there was such a category,
I would have been
the most unlikely to succeed.
I think, when he was at BU,
he took a course in photography.
And he came home, and he said,
"Mom, I want to be
a photographer."
I said, "Oh, my God,
four years at BU,
and you're gonna take pictures?"
That's what I thought.
Oh, my God.
To me, it was magic.
Shooting a roll of film,
rolling that film up
onto the reel,
and as you're shaking the tray,
the image starts to appear.
You're in control
from start to finish.
And I was like,
"This is what I want to do."
He really wanted to be
a photographer, you know,
and that's a really
competitive field.
And the day that he left
to go to Kansas
to get his master's degree,
when he was driving
out of the driveway,
I started to cry.
And our dad said,
"Why are you crying?
He's just going away
for a year."
And I said, "No, he's not.
He's never coming back."
I was always trying
to make a good picture
for every assignment,
no matter how bad it was.
You know, if there's a dog
that crosses the street at 1:00,
that has a potential to be
the page-one photo.
You realize your photographs
do have an impact.
I got a call one day from
the director of photography
at the Sun-Times,
and he goes, "We want you
to come interview."
So I flew up to Chicago,
and he hired me,
and, uh, so I went from
a 6,000-circulation
daily newspaper
where I was the only
to a 600,000-circulation
where I was one of 25
I really think it was helpful
for me to have
the number of experiences
that I had had.
Did some stuff for
National Geographic.
When Lifewas a monthly, I did
some work for them.
Right after 9/11,
a correspondent and I
snuck into Afghanistan
just as the-the war
was getting underway.
And in some ways, it was one
of the more fulfilling things
I've ever done in my career
because my images were appearing
in the Tribuneevery day,
and I really felt
that I was doing good work
and people were seeing it.
I don't want peopleto come away
with the impression
that I was a war photographer,
'cause I wasn't.
But when there are RPGs
coming at you,
I did not do a really good job,
'cause I was scared shit.
I'll admit it.
The realization was,
"Okay, this is...
I'm not good at this."
We thank you again
for coming here tonight.
Lynsey was actually kidnapped
twice in her career.
We know that Brian swims
with sharks.
So, Pete, was there ever a time
where you really felt...
...really felt fearful
in the White House
beyond January 20, 2017?
This White House.
Yeah, this White House.
No, I never felt fearful.
I didn't have bullets
flying over my head,
and I didn't have sharks coming
at me from all directions,
so I had it easy
compared to these two.
The one thing that
uh, we were talking earlier
you have to have intuition
in terms of when it's time
to-to give the man some space.
So it's more of a just in...
intuitive sense
of when it's time
to sort of slowly back away.
Every three months,
we would go to Walter Reed,
and he would visit
Wounded Warriors.
I think it affected him
One time, he went,
and we saw Cory Remsburg.
He had gotten injured by an IED.
The guy that he was
on patrol with in Afghanistan
was killed instantly.
Cory was thrown into a ravine.
He was underwater.
Somehow he survived,
not drowning.
He spent months in a coma.
He lost half his eyesight
and the ability to control
half his body.
He had to relearn
how to walk, talk and eat.
But here's the thing
that really took me aback.
President Obama had met Cory
in, uh, Normandy
the previous June,
and I had taken a picture
of that encounter.
And the picture, we had sent
a copy to the family,
and it was taped
on the hospital wall.
And I was looking
at that picture
and looking at Cory
and saying to myself,
"This is the real cost of war."
Right? You some... you don't
usually see it that starkly.
Cory's made remarkable progress.
Three years later, he visited
with President Obama again
and was starting to walk
with a walker.
In January of 2014,
was the guest of honor
at the
State of the Union address
and sat next to Michelle Obama.
And then towards the end
of the administration,
President Obama visited him
in Arizona at his new house.
One of the most important parts
of the president's day was when
they would go out
to cities all over the U.S.
How long did it last?
- Seemed like forever.
- It-it must have.
Thank God you guys
are all right.
- Yes, sir.
- All right? And, uh...
Practiced all my sins
Never gonna let me win,
Under everything
Just another human being,
When you're
face-to-face with people...
Yeah, I don't want to hurt
There's so much in this world
to make me bleed
...those images are burned
into your brain.
Stay with me
Ah, let's just breathe...
And you carry that with you.
Pete would always tell me
the stories
of what happened
on the road that day.
And when you go back,
you are constantly reminded
of why you're working so hard.
Everything you gave
And nothing you would take,
You touched me so much
with your clarity.
Nothing you would take
Everything you gave
Hold me till I die
Meet you on the other side.
Morning meeting was
at 9:30 in the Oval Office,
and every day, it was
the same kind of meeting.
People sitting in the
same chairs, in the same spots.
And I would think,
"Oh, my God, I can't look
at another picture
from this meeting."
But you have to look through
frame-by-frame just in case.
And one night, I saw a scene,
and I started to cry.
And I get chills thinking
about it because it was some...
I don't know
what the meeting was,
but I knew from looking
at the president's face
the intensity of the decision
that he was making.
And I was incredibly moved
because I knew
the responsibility
and the weight of that job,
and it made me understand
how important it is
to have the right person
in that chair
making those decisions.
When we vote, we're voting
for a decision maker
who is listening
to everyone around him
and is then
making that decision.
And people say,
"It doesn't matter
who's in the White House.
It doesn't matter.
It doesn't..."
It totally matters
who's in the White House.
Breaking news that
the world's most wanted man
has been killed in a mission
led by United States
Special Forces.
President Trump
laying out what he watched
as he started to view
this operation
in the Situation Room.
When you look
at this picture...
...definitely looks like
he's looking at the camera.
Don't you think?
And I've been in this room...
you know,
more than a thousand times.
The photographer is completely
blocking the screen.
It looks fishy to me.
If you're gonna release
a photo like that,
then you've got to be truthful
about what's taking place.
What was he looking at?
I'll go to the New York Times
story that I saw.
"Unlike his predecessor,
Mr. Trump does not allow
"his staff photographer
free range
"to capture
behind-the-scenes photographs
"of life and work
in the White House.
"Instead, he most often invites
Ms. Craighead
"or other White House
photographers into the room
specifically for the purpose
of taking an official picture."
We need to have real moments
of real history,
not posed moments of history.
So, it's hard to know
what you're missing.
I'll talk about
the bin Laden raid.
It was a very tense day.
Throughout that day, h-he had
meetings in the Situation Room,
and they had set up
the communications link
in a small conference room
across from
the big Situation Room.
So, when President Obama
walked in,
Brigadier General Brad Webb
stood up to give up his chair,
and President Obama saw
that he was on a laptop
communicating directly
with Admiral Bill McRaven,
who was essentially running
the raid from Afghanistan,
and said, "No, no, no,
you stay right there.
I'm just gonna pull up
a chair next to you."
So, that's why President Obama
is seated where he is.
You've got
the most powerful people
in the executive branch
of our government
all gathered in this room
at the same time,
and yet they were powerless.
There was essentially
nothing they could do
to affect the outcome
of what they were witnessing.
And now it's up to those
Special Forces on the ground.
That bin Laden photo
is so powerful
because nobody is posing.
Um, you can see the nerves
on everybody's face
in that room.
Tonight, I can report
to the American people
and to the world
that the United States
has conducted an operation
that killed Osama bin Laden,
the leader of al-Qaeda.
The picture in the bottom right
is right after they knew
they had killed bin Laden.
And you don't see
any high fives.
It's, like, very anticlimactic
in a lot of ways.
As a photographer,
as well as-as a human being,
what were some of the things
which were easy
for you to capture,
and what were
a little more difficult?
I-I don't know that there was
anything that was easy.
The hardest things were
when he would have to meet
with families that were
affected by tragedies.
And I am... I'm sad to say
that we had to do this
too many times.
And it was incredibly
emotional and difficult.
I felt intrusive at times
but also that it was
part of my job
to document these moments.
But I would say
that that was the...
those were
the most difficult times.
You dialed 911.
What's the location
of your emergency?
Sandy Hook Elementary School.
-12 Dickenson Drive.
- I think there's
somebody shooting in here,
at Sandy Hook School.
Somebody's got a gun.
I saw a glimpse of somebody.
They're running
down the hallway.
- Okay...
- Ooh, they're still running.
They're still shooting.
There's still
shooting going on. Please.
One of the worst days
of his presidency was the day
of the Sandy Hook Elementary
School shootings in Newtown.
John Brennan,
who at that time was
the Homeland Security advisor,
was updating him
throughout the morning
and then finally came in and
said that 26 people had died,
including 20 grade school kids.
He's reacting as a parent
more than probably
as a president,
imagining the horror...
of kissing your child
in the morning,
sending them off to school
on the school bus,
and then only a few hours later
having to identify
your child's body
who's been shot multiple times
at close range.
He felt it was
his duty as president
to speak to the nation
in th-these times of tragedy.
I had never seen him
do this before
blow his cheeks
as if he was unsure
whether he would be able
to keep it together.
The majority of those
who died today were children.
Uh, beautiful little kids
between the ages of five
and ten years old.
They had their entire lives
ahead of them:
birthdays, graduations,
kids of their own.
Among the fallen
were also teachers,
men and women
who devoted their lives
to helping our children
fulfill their dreams.
So, our hearts are broken today.
This evening,
Michelle and I will do
what I know every parent
in America will do,
which is hug our children
a little tighter.
And we'll tell them
that we love them,
and we'll remind each other
how deeply we love one another.
But there are families
in Connecticut
who cannot do that tonight,
and they need
all of us right now.
In the hard days to come,
that community needs us
to be at our best as Americans,
and I will do everything in
my power as president to help.
Malia, who had just
gotten home from school,
was standing in the hallway,
and he latched onto her.
He just would not let her go.
Two days later, he was invited
to come to Newtown.
It happened to
coincide with, uh,
Sasha's annual,
uh, dance recital,
which he was gonna have to miss.
So he decided to stop by
the dress rehearsal
in the afternoon before flying
up to, uh, Newtown.
He sat in a box by himself,
started editing his remarks
already for that night.
And then,
when Sasha was dancing,
he would turn and watch her.
At one point,
I went down to the third row
to take some pictures
of Sasha in her outfit
'cause I figured those would be
the only pictures
they would have.
When I was standing there,
this one young dance troupe
had filed out from backstage
and sat in the row
right in front of me,
and there were about
20 or 25 little kids.
I said, "How old are you guys?"
She said, "We're six."
And I thought to myself,
you know,
this is what just got
wiped out in Newtown
was this whole row.
And I had to...
I had to turn away
and start... I started crying.
We flew up to Connecticut,
and he spent
two and a half hours
meeting with the families.
This is the Wheeler family,
Francine and David.
Their son, Ben, who was six,
was shot and killed.
And their oldest son, Nate,
hid in a school supply closet
during the shooting.
We learned
that the president was coming.
We waited for a long time
the president's people
were trying
to hurry him
through the process.
And he said, "No.
I will take
as long as it takes."
He comes in, and... and he made
a beeline for Francine.
And he just wrapped her up.
Just held her.
Let her, you know,
sob into his lapel.
And I asked him...
I said, "Is this different?"
And he said,
"I hope so, but I don't know."
There's no substitute
for empathy.
It is a foundational
between human beings.
And to know that the guy
who's running the show...
...cares enough
not just to come and visit
but to... let you know
that he cares about you,
that he cares about your wife.
You know, that he cares
about your nine-year-old kid.
We are so good at dismissing...
the people that we elect
to serve us.
We're so good at turning them
into things that aren't people.
And we have to be
very careful about that.
Because when you do that,
then you get the elected
officials that you deserve.
I've seen him run
up these steps many times.
He didn't run
up the steps that night.
Whether it's Newtown
or Aurora
or any of these places,
Pete was the only guy
who was always
in those rooms, you know?
And so, you could
sense his anger
at-at what was going on
around him.
So, can we go to the place
that I usually get the, uh, cherry tomatoes?
- Yeah.
Uh, can I get one kale bunch?
- Yeah, yeah. Thanks. Yep.
- Thank you.
preference poll. All you need
- is a Sharpie to vote.
- Oh, yeah, I'm voting.
I know Joe Biden,
so I'm voting for Joe Biden.
Wait a minute.
You're Pete, right?
- Yeah. Yeah.
- I was at your show last night.
- Oh, you were? Oh, great.
- It was terrific.
- Nice. Thanks.
- Oh! I was, too!
It was excellent. Yeah, yeah.
- Yeah.
- I'm Toni Brown.
- Oh, hi. Nice to meet you.
- Welcome to Madison.
Rumor has it
that the president
takes responsibility
for this happy union.
So, you know, as president,
he started in 2009.
So, as he gets to know me more
and he gets to meet Patti,
he would tell people
that he-he liked her
better than he liked me,
you know.
Um, and so he'd start
working on me,
like, in terms of, like,
"Well, wait a minute.
So, you guys have been
together for,"
you know, whatever it was
15, 17 years
"and what... so, why haven't
you gotten married?"
President Obama pushes
everybody to get married.
Like, he loves...
he loves love stories.
Michelle was on the trip,
and we're sitting
in the conference room,
and he's just, like,
n-not letting it go,
and he's turning to Michelle
and saying,
"Can you believe that Pete
won't ask Patti to marry him?"
And-and that's
when he brought up,
"We'll do the wedding
in the Rose Garden,
and I'll officiate,"
and I remember I said to him...
I said, "No, I don't want
to do that," and he goes,
"What? The Rose Garden's not
good enough for you?"
Come and hold my hand, and
I'll be your biggest fan
Oh, ooh.
The most interesting part
of my job was that I saw him
in all these different
compartments of his life.
I saw him as a dad.
I saw how he behaved
with his children.
I watched this family
grow up, essentially.
You know, I think Sasha
and Malia did such a great job
under the limelight.
And it-it's really
a testament to Michelle
and Barack.
And Marian Robinson,
who you see here on the right,
Michelle's mom, helped out,
especially when Michelle went
on solo trips overseas.
This is him singing
"Happy Birthday" to Michelle.
We were on a boat ride
in the Gulf Coast.
I saw Michelle
stroking his hand.
Then at the second inauguration,
just before they boarded
the motorcade,
I, uh, approached him.
Michelle was standing
next to him.
I said, "Mr. President,
do you mind if I ride
in the limousine with you
for part of the parade route?"
And he looked me in the eye,
and he said,
"Well, Michelle and I
were planning to make out."
And then he just
started laughing.
He's like, "Of course you can,"
you know.
And he'll tell you that
the best day at the White House
was the day that Congress
passed the Affordable Care Act.
Not true.
The best day for him
at the White House
was the day that Sasha's coach
could not make the game
and he got to coach the game.
With a little help
from Reggie Love.
So, um, the Sidwell Friends
Vipers were undefeated.
And during the first half,
under the tutelage
of Coach Obama,
they fell behind.
So he called time-out.
And Sasha's looking at him like,
"Dad, you are embarrassing me."
These are, like,
nine-year-old girls,
and he's coaching as if
this is game seven
of the NBA Finals.
And one my favorite days
was we had a big snowstorm.
It was called "Snowmageddon."
And he ended up coming out
for about two hours.
It was just
the three of them and me.
At one point,
they were in the Rose Garden.
And Sasha, you can see
what she's about to do.
She did it.
I mean, like, who else
could throw a snowball
in the face of the president
of the United States
and not get tackled
by the Secret Service?
To this day, he has a photo
that's the lock screen photo
on his iPad,
and it's this picture
of the three of them
doing snow angels
on the South Lawn.
And then they grow up.
Where did the time go?
You were just a little girl
in my arms
I can see you
with my eyes closed
There's a moment
when our world was so calm
Princess in the kingdom
I would gladly
give away the throne
To see you smile
I wish that
you would stay young
And although you'll grow
You'll always be my child
Snow angel
I just want you to stay
this way forever
Snow angel
In my heart,
we'll always be together
Snow angel.
One-one of the most emotional
days, uh, was in 2015.
In the morning on this day,
the Supreme Court upheld
same-sex marriage.
It was a beautiful,
summery, warm morning.
Everyone knew that that decision
would come down that day.
We didn't know when.
Um, and like every morning,
went in, unlocked the door,
um, turned on the television.
You can hear
the cheer in the crowd.
A very dramatic moment here.
A five-four decision.
And I called Joe,
my now husband,
um, who was, uh, there,
and I said, "It's done."
And the president walked in
and put his arm around me.
It felt like,
for that period of time,
we were on
the right side of history.
The president did an interview
in the Cabinet Room
several months before then.
I've been going through
an evolution on this issue.
Uh, when I think about
members of my own staff
who are in incredibly committed
and monogamous relationships
same-sex relationships
I think same-sex couples
should be able to get married.
And when
he vocalized in that interview
his support
for same-sex marriage,
that was a-a moment
for me, as well.
Sometimes there aredays like this,
when that slow, steady effort
is rewarded with justice
that arrives like a thunderbolt.
Then, later that morning,
we flew to Charleston.
President Obama was
invited to give
the eulogy for
Reverend Clementa Pinckney.
He was one of the nine
African Americans
shot and killed
at Emanuel African
Methodist Episcopal Church
by somebody who had prayed
with this group of nine people
at a prayer service for an hour
and then took out a gun
and killed them all.
And President Obama
wanted to give a eulogy
with the theme of "grace."
"Amazing Grace."
"Amazing Grace."
How sweet
The sound
- That saved
- Sing, Mr. President.
A wretch
Like me...
It was emotional in
the moment, as you can imagine.
I didn't know he was
gonna sing "Amazing Grace."
And I didn't realize,
like, the-the struggle.
You could see him
trying to decide,
"Can I pull this off?
Should I speak the words
or sing them?"
And he's trying to get
the courage up to sing,
and he... and he did.
Was blind
But now
I see.
Bidding farewell to the
reverend's daughters and widow.
Meeting with some of
the other families backstage.
And then we flew back to D.C.
Someone had decided
to light the White House
in rainbow colors.
These are all White House staff
out on the North Lawn.
People were crying.
People were drinking champagne.
It was, I think,
one of only two times
that I called my wife.
I said to her, "I don't care
"what you're doing
or what you're wearing.
"Get in a taxi
and come to the White House.
You need to be here
to see this celebration."
How many people are you gonna be
- speaking in front of?
- There's gonna be, like,
800 people there.
- Yeah.
- You ready, man?
Am I ready?
- Yeah, you ready?
- Yeah.
Was Obama nice?
You'll hear all about him today.
Clearly, I could see
what he meant to
the African American community.
As-as time went on,
I was probably more aware
of just trying to tell the story
of what it meant for them,
uh, to have...
you know,
to have him up onstage.
It was often
in the back of my mind
that he was the first
African American president
and I had to incorporate that
into my photography.
This is Ruby Bridges,
in person and as pictured
in the famous
Norman Rockwell painting.
She was the first
African American
to desegregate schools
in Louisiana.
I think it's fair to say that,
if it hadn't been for you guys,
I might not be here
and we wouldn't be looking
- at this together, so...
- Yeah.
This is Paul McCartney
singing "Michelle" to Michelle.
The next day, I was walking
on the colonnade
with President Obama.
I said, "That was
really cool last night
when McCartney sang 'Michelle.'"
And President Obama
turned to me.
He goes, "Yeah, I don't think
Michelle Obama growing up
"on the South Side of Chicago
as a young African American kid
"thought someday she'd be
sitting in the front row
"of the White House
as first lady
as a former Beatle sang
her namesake song."
And then there's this picture.
This is Jacob Philadelphia.
At one point, Jacob's mom said,
"Mr. President,
Jacob has a question for you."
So Jacob's kind of like...
"Mr. President,
my friends told me
that my haircut
is just like yours."
And with that, uh,
President Obama bent over,
Jacob touched his head.
Click, I got one photo,
and it was gone.
That image was
what Barack Obama had said to us
two years ago
in an office in Chicago.
That kid literally
can't even believe,
even though he's seeing the
president of the United States
in the Oval Office,
until he can feel his hair,
he doesn't truly believe
that he's just like me.
That single image
stands for so much more.
It stands for how kids
will see themselves
differently forever.
But two, I think it tells you
something about Barack Obama.
That, at the behest
of a five-year-old kid,
you would go ahead, bend over
and let that kid
touch your head like that.
The fact that
Pete succeeded in offering
a window into the man
that was occupying the office
to show what the office can be,
what it has been,
what it can be again,
to show the...
the kind of
integrity of purpose,
I think that's inspiring.
The presidency is about
a lot more than
even just policy.
There's something intangible
about that office.
What do people remember
about the Obamas?
You know,
they remember the marriage
between Barack
and Michelle Obama.
They remember
a certain speech he gave.
They remember how the rooms
that used to be
only full of white men
are suddenly full of people
of different races and genders.
That's what they take away
from the Obama presidency.
And frankly, that's going to
have a lasting impact
on this country
and on... on the world.
I think Obama understood
that the-the images of him
not only being president
but being president
in a certain way,
that could change attitudes.
It did, I think,
change perspectives
on what is possible
and-and what is achievable
for people of color
in this country.
But it also woke this, you know,
constantly present, ugly,
horrific racism.
When I first met Pete,
his politics were
not at all evident.
You know, I always wondered,
what did Pete Souza get
from President Obama?
Like, how did he change
because he spent so much time
with President Obama?
The political concern
you know, the-the feeling
that you have to care
and make a difference.
You can make a difference.
He could no longer be
this fly on the wall.
And I would see these moments
where Pete became furious
for President Obama.
The way in which
Pete has been most changed
is by becoming
a vocal political person
because of President Obama.
Set the refugees free!
Hundreds swarmed the
arrivals terminal at SFO today.
Citizens who are
in shock at the speed of which
President Trump's executive
orders are turning into action.
Pete Souza is a very unlikely
Instagram superstar, attracting
millions of followers
after he started replying
to President Trump's tweets
by posting
Obama White House photos,
along with snarky captions.
He is President Obama's
former chief photographer,
whose Instagram is now full of
pics showing glaring contrast
in how the two presidents
handled certain situations.
It's earned him the moniker
"the King of Shade."
Do you have a picture
for every single thing
that Donald Trump has
lied about with Barack Obama?
Pretty much. Pretty much, yeah.
How much joy do you get
when you do it?
Uh, I get a lot of joy,
Like, do you giggle?
I-I picture you sitting at home,
like, giggling,
working on your laptop.
Uh, yeah, my-my wife said she
didn't know I was that funny.
And I said, "You just haven't
been paying attention."
When I first started out,
I was trying to be humorous
in my comments.
You know, I had
all these reporters
wanting to interview me
about what I was doing
on Instagram,
and I would not respond.
Just say,
"It speaks for itself."
In the words
of some younger people,
they say you troll
President Trump. Why?
The photographs
that I post on Instagram now
and the-the words that I write,
I think, speak for themselves.
And I think I've gotten
more and more out there
in terms of making it
pretty damn clear how I feel.
There are also a lot of
questions about the phone call
you received
from President Trump.
- What he said was...
- The president?
Yes, the president.
Said that he knew
what he signed up for
but it hurts anyways.
He couldn't remember
my husband name.
If my husband risked his life
for our country,
why can't you remember his name?
You know,
since leaving the White House,
I made this conscious decision
that I couldn't
not say anything,
that I couldn't not speak out.
It was all about the dignity
of the office of the presidency.
Especially for young people,
what I didn't want them
to think
this is the way a president
is supposed to behave.
No, it's not.
Pete bore witness to an ethical,
decent, not perfect,
certainly fallible, law-abiding,
humane presidency
for eight years.
And my hunch, when I saw Pete
draw devastating contrasts
between what was and what is,
was he just felt
he had no choice.
Whatever instinct
that Pete may have had
to remain behind the scenes
seems to have been obliterated
by the harm
that President Trump was doing
and the urgency
to call that out,
to mobilize people.
This was a 911.
He got progressively worse.
I just thought it was dangerous.
So, I think, over time, yeah,
my Instagram posts
got more pointed.
I thought that Trump
had just gone way too far,
and I said, "Okay, I want
to do this book, 'Shade.'"
Trump tweet on one page,
my response on the other.
Obama: An Intimate Portrait,
which is a coffee table book
based on the eight years
of the Obama presidency,
will hopefully last a lifetime.
The Shadebook, hopefully,
will outlive its uselessness
on January 20, 2021.
Peter Souza. Hey, baby.
Pete Souza.
I wasn't surprised to see him
hit this nerve on social media.
I was surprised
to see him, like,
on a television show
talking, you know?
You know,
he's a behind-the-scenes guy.
And I think it spoke
to just how offended he was
by the new reality
and how he felt compelled
to speak up.
So, we usually
don't see this from
- a White House photographer...
- No.
...who has that fly-on-the-wall
quality to him or to her.
What made you want to step out
and-and make this stand?
Well, I think
this guy disrespects
the office of the presidency.
I mean, it's as simple as that.
I always thought of you
as fairly apolitical.
So, what is it about this moment
and this president that has...
that has changed you?
He bullies people. He lies.
He calls you guys the, uh,
enemy of the people.
He doesn't believe
our own intelligence agencies.
There's just too many things.
I'm trying to make an argument
that this is not who we are.
That this president
really doesn't speak for us
as Americans, what it means
to be an American.
Believe me,
he gets lots of hate mail,
'cause I get a lot of them
on his behalf.
He's not loved
by everyone, for sure.
But for the people
who feel strongly, as he does,
they see him as almost a leader
to help them get
that message across
and to help make some change
in this country right now.
- How are you?
- It's so good to see you.
- Congratulations to you.
- Thank you. You, too.
- My God, you're kicking ass.
- Huh?
- How you doing?
- I'm doing good.
- How about you?
- I'm good.
- I love the book.
- Thank you.
I was... I saw POTUS today.
And one of the things
that I was telling him was
- you can tell stories now...
- Mm-hmm.
...and in context,
they make complete sense.
Like, you couldn't have
defended yourself
the way you did
about Benghazi, for instance
- while you're at...
- No.
And yet, I had no choice
'cause I was,
you know, speaking on behalf
of the government
and on behalf of the president.
Uh, and that was, you know,
what I wanted to do
and what I committed to do
at the time.
But that meant that,
in that period,
I didn't have my own voice.
I'm a journalist who wishes
I could give my opinion
once in a while.
I'm wondering, as the White
House official photographer,
did you have to wait for
a certain time to throw shade?
Yeah, I would never
have done it,
uh, during his presiden...
I would never have done it
if, you know, Jeb Bush
or John Kasich or...
Um, look, this is... this is
not a partisan thing to me.
This is somebody that I feel
is not a good person,
doesn't respect
the office of the presidency,
thinks about himself
and not other people,
lies to us.
So, it-it became something
that I felt I had to do.
I don't think, uh,
a photojournalist is
supposed to be opinionated.
I'm now opinionated.
I, in some ways,
have ruined
any chance that I have
of being a working
photojournalist again.
But to me,
that's a small price to pay
for doing what I think
is the right thing.
Pete and I probably...and
I've never talked about this
feel a similar sense
of obligation
and so do a bunch of
our other former colleagues
to... to fight these battles
because we don't want
Obama to do it.
You know, or,
you know, he shouldn't do it.
His voice is too important
to be trivialized
by having to respond
to tweets, you know?
I've never been
overtly political,
and now I am political.
I want to make sure
everybody knows
that what this guy is doing
is not only not normal,
but it's really dangerous
to the country.
This is a serious job,
being the president.
I'm gonna do everything I can
to make sure
people don't forget that.
President Obama invited
the president-elect
just two days after the election
to the White House.
It was a surreal day.
And it just so happens
by sheer coincidence
that another meeting
had been scheduled that day,
uh, with a young boy,
Alex Myteberi.
Alex had written a letter
to President Obama
that he was so taken with
that he read excerpts of it
at his U.N. speech that year.
I can still remember it,
seeing Omran in the ambulance,
face covered in blood
and ash and dust.
It looks horrific to you
that someone your age,
like, younger than me... Omran
was a year younger than me...
being hurt in an ambulance
in another country
while I'm just sitting around
at my grandma's watching TV.
For days and days,
he wanted to ask about Omran.
"Show me Syria.
Where is Aleppo?"
First, he wanted to send
a letter to Omran.
And when I told him,
"Well, I don't have his address,
so I don't think
he's gonna get it,"
that's when he decided
to write to the president.
My thought was, "Okay, here
goes the Santa Claus letter."
You know, that's the idea
you just write it...
Doing something.
- drop it, then that's the end of it.
Little did we know.
He said he wanted Omran to come
live with him and his family.
"Since he won't bring toys,"
Alex wrote,
"I will share my bike, and I
will teach him how to ride it."
"We will give him a family,
and he will be our brother."
Those are the words
of a six-year-old boy.
It's so nice to meet you.
- How have you been?
- Good.
You look very nice in your suit.
- Thank you.
- Is that a new suit?
- Mm-hmm.
- I thought so.
You being so... so nice and kind
hopefully makes other people
think the same way.
So, I was very proud of you.
This picture was made
22 minutes after Trump had left.
This six-year-old kid,
the son of two immigrants,
showed more compassion,
more empathy,
more understanding,
and knows more about
what it means to be an American
than our current president.
This is something
that we take very seriously.
Uh, as soon as
there is an outbreak
anywhere in the world
of any disease,
the CDC, uh, is in communication
with the
World Health Organization,
uh, and other
multilateral agencies
to try to make sure that we've
got an appropriate response.
Having watched President Obama,
based on the way
he handled the H1N1 epidemic,
and the Ebola crisis in 2014
I mean, if he had
been president now,
he would have been
facing this virus, too.
He couldn't have stopped it.
But he would have listened
to the science early on.
It's really on Trump for not
having a nationwide shutdown.
Put it in perspective.
This is forty 9/11s.
Forty 9/11s.
That's how many people
have died.
I view everything now through
the lens of the presidency.
I think one thing that's changed
is that the vast majority
of the country
now realizes that having
a competent, honest person
in the presidency
really does matter.
I want to speak directly
to the young men and women
of color in this country.
I want you to know
that you matter.
I want you to know that
your lives matter.
You have the power
to make things better,
and you have helped to make
the entire country feel,
uh, as if this is something
that's got to change.
There is
A light at the end
of this road
And I know
That there's still
A long way to go
As long as my head is high
And I walk with pride
Go with the strength inside
Take every step in stride
No chance will pass me by
Long as I always try
Won't let my passions die
And as long as I'm alive
The future
To me
Oh, the future
To me
And it's gon' be
A beautiful thing to see...
America's always been
two stories battling each other.
You know, the progressive,
inclusive story
of-of people getting more rights and
more people being allowed
the promise of citizenship
and opportunity
and struggling
to overcome things
versus people who don't want
to give up power, you know?
And if you just
stacked up the images
of the Obama presidency
and the Trump presidency,
you would see
the two stories of America
in the starkest
possible contrast.
And I think that's why
Pete's images
have triggered
such emotion in people
'cause it's like,
no, that's my America.
My America is in these pictures.
When the history
has been written
And the glory days are gone
Yes, we did. Yes, we can.
How will you be remembered?
Thank you. God bless you.
What page will you be on?
Will you be
someone they reference
With wise words to quote?
A paragraph,
a page, a chapter
More than a footnote
As simple as
the questions I ask
The answer I propose
Is to look beyond
the days gone past
You see tomorrow knows
That the future
To me
Oh, the future
To me
And it's gon' be
a beautiful thing
- To see
- The future belongs to me
The future belongs to me
The future
belongs to me
The future belongs to me.
It's coming through
a hole in the air
From those nights
in Tiananmen Square
It's coming from the feeling
this ain't exactly real
Or it's real,
but it ain't exactly there
From the wars
against disorder
From the sirens
night and day
From the fires
of the homeless
From the ashes of the gay
Democracy is coming
To the USA
I'm sentimental,
if you know what I mean
Oh, I love the country
But I can't stand the scene
And I'm neither
left or right
I'm just staying home
Getting lost in that
hopeless little screen
But I'm stubborn
as those garbage bags
That time cannot decay
I'm junk,
but I'm still holding up
This little wild bouquet
Democracy is coming to
To the USA
To the USA.