The chief official White House photographer for former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama has suggested that a snap of President Donald Trump watching the deadly strike on ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was staged.
Pete Souza, an outspoken critic of Trump, tweeted the photo, which shows the president stone-faced alongside US military top brass, and noted that the timestamp indicated it was taken at 17.05pm on Saturday – over 90 minutes after the 3.30pm raid reportedly took place.
In doing so, Souza appeared to charge that Trump was not actually monitoring the situation when the photo was taken.
Pete Souza, the chief official White House photographer for former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, has suggested that a snap of President Donald Trump watching the deadly strike on ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the Situation Room was staged. From left to right: National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, Vice President Mike Pence, Trump, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff US Army General Mark Milley and Brig General Marcus Evans
Souza, an outspoken critic of Trump, tweeted the photo and noted that the timestamp indicated it was taken at 17.05pm on Saturday – over 90 minutes after the 3.30pm raid reportedly took place
The photo of Trump bared striking resemblance to a famous image Souza captured of Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton closely watching Navy Seals raid the Pakistan compound where al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011
A number of commenters shared support for Souza’s speculation that the photo was posed for PR purposes.
Several users cited media reports that Trump returned to the White House at 3.33pm after spending his morning on the golf course.
Others came to Trump’s defense and asserted that the raid could have continued through the time the photo was taken.
Souza acknowledged that possibility in a subsequent tweet, adding: ‘Before drawing definite conclusions about the photo, reporters need to nail down the actual timeline of the raid.’
Souza (pictured) has long been an outspoken critic of President Trump
The photo of Trump bore a striking resemblance to a famous image Souza captured of Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton closely watching Navy Seals raid the Pakistan compound where al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011.
However, the Trump photo was considerable more organized than the Obama one.
Trump, Vice President Mike Pence; National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien; Secretary of Defense Mark Esper; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army General Mark A Milley; and Brig Gen Marcus Evans, Deputy Director for Special Operations on the Joint Staff are lined up around the table staring straight ahead with stern expressions.
In the Obama photo, the officials appear far more engaged with the events unfolding before them.
The president sat is hunched over with his arms crossed and Clinton has her hand over he mouth in shock while a number of other administration members stand in the background.
On Sunday Trump announced the strike against the shadowy ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi where he was cornered by U.S. Special Ops forces in his hideout in northwest Syria and detonated his suicide vest, killing himself and three of his children
On Sunday, Trump boasted that the military raid that led to the death of al-Baghdadi was a bigger triumph than the Obama administration’s strike against bin Laden.
The president held a press conference at 9am to announce that the shadowy ISIS leader had been cornered by US Special Ops forces in his hideout in northwest Syria and detonated his suicide vest, killing himself and three of his children.
Trump compared his administration’s military strike with Barack Obama’s hit on al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden (above) in 2011, claiming the death of al-Baghdadi was a bigger triumph
‘Bin Laden was a big thing, but this is the biggest there is. This is the worst ever,’ Trump victoriously said on Sunday.
‘Osama bin Laden was big, but Osama bin Laden became big with the World Trade Center. This is a man who built a whole, as he would like to call it, a country, a caliphate,’ he added.
The president couldn’t help but draw comparison to his administration’s military strike with Obama’s.
The killing of bin Laden was lauded as one of the great successes of Obama’s time in office as the terrorist leader was the founder of Al-Qaeda and the mastermind of the September 11 terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
Bin Laden was killed in a Navy SEALs operation where agents raided Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011.
In his speech Trump pointed out that bin Laden wasn’t known to the world until 9/11, and claimed the killing of Al-Baghdadi was a bigger target because he was the man behind the Islamic caliphate.
Trump faced criticism for drawing comparison to the Obama administration.
‘Trump claiming killing Baghdadi was “bigger” than killing bin Laden shows how petty and vile Trump is. He will use any moment he can to tell his base that he’s better than the dreaded black President they all hated,’ one Twitter user noted.
‘Trump boasting that killing Baghdadi was a much bigger accomplishment than killing Osama bin Laden just shows how Trump has so much jealousy and contempt for our nation’s first black President, whom he will never measure up to in a million years,’ another Twitter user added.
‘I refuse to listen to him. His Obsession with #PresidentObama is pretty sick. He’s in a contest with himself,’ another chimed in.
Trump faced criticism on Twitter for drawing comparison to the Obama administration