FACT CHECK: Does The Presidential Transition Enhancement Act Allow Trump To Keep Control Of The Military For 60 Days After His Term Ended?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims the Presidential Transition Enhancement Act allows former President Donald Trump to remain in control of the U.S. military for 60 days after the end of his term.

Verdict: False

The act does not allow Trump to retain control of the military after his term ended. The full transition of power occurred on Jan. 20, when President Joe Biden was inaugurated.

Fact Check:

In addition to making the claim about the Presidential Transition Enhancement Act of 2019, the image attempts to suggest that the U.S. Constitution prescribes that the transfer of power between presidents does not actually occur until March.

Trump signed the Presidential Transition Enhancement Act, which amended the 1963 Presidential Transition Act, into law in March 2020. It includes measures such as setting a timeline for the General Services Administration (GSA) to “enter into memorandums of understanding with Presidential campaigns to prepare for potential transitions” and limiting the “period during which services and facilities are provided to Presidential transition teams” by the GSA to 60 days after inauguration, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Nowhere in the text of the Presidential Transition Enhancement Act does it afford the former president the ability to remain in control of the military after the new president’s inauguration. (RELATED: Does This Image Show Joe Biden Asleep In The Oval Office?)

The 20th Amendment states, “The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January.” The full transition of power from Trump to Biden occurred on Jan. 20, when he was sworn in as the 46th president. Biden also became the commander-in-chief of the U.S. military upon his inauguration, as prescribed in the Constitution.

It seems that the post’s claims are linked to the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory. Some believers in the conspiracy theory falsely say that Trump will be sworn back into office March 4, according to CNN. Prior to the ratification of the 20th Amendment, the president was inaugurated on March 4, according to the Library of Congress.

On Jan. 13, Trump was impeached by the House for the second time on one count of incitement of insurrection, according to The New York Times. His second impeachment came a week after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6.

The Senate voted Feb. 9 that the former president’s impeachment trial is constitutional, according to NPR.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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