FACT CHECK: No, Donald Trump Has Not Retained Command Of The US Military

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims former President Donald Trump remains in control of the U.S. armed forces.

Verdict: False

Trump does not have control of the U.S. military. President Joe Biden became commander-in-chief of the U.S. armed forces when he was inaugurated Jan. 20, as prescribed in the Constitution.

Fact Check:

The June 5 Facebook post features a collage image of Trump, President Abraham Lincoln, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and armed soldiers. Its caption states, “U.S. military is still under President Trump’s command!” (RELATED: Viral Image Claims To Show Article About Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Considering ‘Defunding, Maybe Disbanding’ The US Army)

The full transition of power from Trump to Biden took place on Jan. 20, when Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president. When Biden became president, Trump lost legal authority over the military, and Biden became the commander-in-chief of the U.S. armed forces, as prescribed in the Constitution.

Biden nominated Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in Jan. 22, The Hill reported. No mention of Trump exercising authority over the U.S. military after leaving office can be found in any of the Defense Department’s press releases or social media posts. An internet search by Check Your Fact also didn’t turn up a single credible report of the military taking orders from Trump after Biden’s inauguration.

Additionally, all of the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff signed a Jan. 12 memorandum that both affirmed Biden would become the U.S. military’s commander-in-chief upon inauguration and condemned the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol building by Trump supporters, NPR reported. The memo read in part, “On January 20, 2021, in accordance with the Constitution, confirmed by the states and the courts, and certified by Congress, President-elect Biden will be inaugurated and will become our 46th commander in chief,” according to a post on the Defense Department website.

Check Your Fact previously debunked a claim circulating in April that the Defense Department hadn’t recognized Biden as president. That false claim appeared in a Telegram post from an account with a username that seemingly referenced the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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