FACT CHECK: Yes, The Department Of Defense Recognizes Joe Biden As President
Posts shared on Facebook claim the Department of Defense (DoD) does not recognize Joe Biden as president.
The DoD has acknowledged Biden as president, including in press releases and on social media. Biden nominated current Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for his position.
The full transition of power from former President Donald Trump to Biden took place on Jan. 20, when Biden was sworn in as the 46th president. Upon Biden’s inauguration, he became the commander-in-chief of the U.S. military, as prescribed in the Constitution.
Despite Biden becoming president and commander-in-chief on Inauguration Day, Facebook users have been sharing posts in April that falsely claim Trump “never left” and the DoD “still doesn’t recognize Biden.” One such post features a screen grab of a Telegram post from an account whose username appears to reference the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory.
The DoD has acknowledged Biden as president in various press releases since he took office. In a Jan. 20 statement, then-Acting Defense Secretary David Norquist referred to Biden as the “46th President of the United States and Commander in Chief of our military force” and said the DoD “look[s] forward to seamlessly onboarding the incoming Administration so America may maintain its strategic advantage and vast partnerships,” for example. The department also refers to Biden as the president on its Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Austin, who was nominated by Biden, was sworn in as secretary of defense on Jan. 22 following his confirmation by the Senate, according to Forbes. If the DoD had refused to recognize Biden as president, it almost certainly would have garnered major media coverage. (RELATED: Does This Image Show Joe Biden Kneeling Down To ‘Plead With’ George Floyd’s Son?)
Biden pledged April 14 to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021, according to the Associated Press. In a news conference at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Brussels headquarters the same day, Austin said he “fully” supported the decision, a transcript of his remarks shows.