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Media Watch: Looking Back at the Trump Presidency in Photos

By David Schonauer   Tuesday January 19, 2021


Tomorrow at noon the Trump presidency ends.

The long run-up to the transfer of power has been eventful, to say the least. The period between the election on November 3 and the inauguration of Joseph Biden as the 46th President of the United States on January 6 has been filled with a cascade of news. During that period — as Donald Trump fought his election loss unsuccessfully in courts, saw the Electoral College certify the loss, and then urged supporters in Congress to overturn the loss — publications and news agencies have been looking back at the past four years as documented by photographers.

This traditional time-capsule approach to reviewing history underscores the particular nature of the Trump years. “It has been a presidency like no other,” noted one Australian news outlet shortly after the US election.

His term began with a photographic controversy over the size of the crowd attending his inauguration in 2017 and ended with scenes of a riot in U.S. Capitol by Trump followers — images that left the country shaken.

Reuters offered a review of remarkable Trump moments as captured by the news service’s photographers, including scenes from his 2018 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, and his 2020 visit to Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. In photographer Tom Brenner’s image, Trump assumes his spot among memorable American presidents (below).

CNN recently took a longer view of the Trump’s life, providing a visual biography of the president stretching from his childhood to his early days as a real estate mogul and casino owner though his time as a realty-TV show star (see Getty Images photographer Peter Kramer’s image below) and political candidate.

MSN has a 70-image portfolio with a range of Trump images showing how photographers have captured different aspects of the president. Below, for instance, is AP photographer Evan Vucci’s image of the president and First Lady Melania Trump prior to his acceptance speech at the 2020 Republican National Convention on the South Lawn of the White House.

Also in the MSN portfolio is AP photographer Patrick Semansky’s shot of Trump arriving at the White House on June 21, 2020, after speaking at a poorly attended rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma (below).

New York magazine noted that Trump, with his appetite for attention, generated “the most ridiculous presidential photos of all time.” The caption of the image below reads: “Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, First Lady Melania Trump, and President Trump caress a glowing globe ‘in a gesture of solidarity’ while marking the opening of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology on May 21, 2017 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.” (Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images).

Rather than offering a large portfolio of images, HuffPost wrapped up the Trump presidency in just two images — a photo of the US Capitol on January 20, 2020, as Trump gave in inauguration address, by AP’s Patrick Semansky…

… and a shot of the Capitol as it appeared on January 6, 2021, after rioters had stormed the building, taken by Reuters photographer Leah Millis:

And there you have it for the Trump presidency. But don’t expect photographers to stop photographing Donald Trump. His time in the news is almost certainly not over.
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At top: Trump drafting State of the Union Address, 2017, at Mar-a-Lago (@realDonaldTrump/Twitter), from New York magazine’s look back at the Trump presidency

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