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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke October 5, 2023

Former President Donald Trump isn’t the commander in chief

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  • Former President Donald Trump isn’t the commander in chief.

"Big news!" a recent Instagram post said. "Trump is commander & chief." 

The supposed evidence that former President Donald Trump is still running the nation is offered in a video in the Oct. 3 post. 

"This was Dan Scavino posting a clip of President Trump departing Costa Mesa," a narrator in the video said. "You can see President Trump posing there with the police … he’s got those guards all around him and he’s got the Secret Service all around him. Guys, we’ve seen the vehicles all around him. Many people are posting, look, there’s no way that he’s got all those vehicles, medical, comms, truck, unless he’s running the nation, unless he’s the commander in chief." 

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The post refers to a video shared Sept. 30 on Instagram by Dan Scavino Jr., a Trump adviser. 

"45 department beautiful Costa Mesa, California!" Scavino wrote. "#TRUMP2024 #MAGA #USA."

Scavino was in Costa Mesa for a ticketed "special evening event" with the former president. 

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Scavino’s video shows Trump posing for a photo with several armed police officers, leaving a building and waving at supporters. Flashing lights are visible from emergency service vehicles. 

The video then cuts to what appears to be a recording shot from inside Scavino’s moving car. It shows more supporters bearing flags and waving, while some police and medical vehicles line the road. 

Trump is not the commander in chief. President Joe Biden now holds that role. 

It’s not unusual for a former president to come under protection after leaving office, or for local agencies to help. In June, for example, the Columbus Police Department in Georgia provided a motorcade for Trump.

In 1965, Congress authorized the Secret Service to protect former presidents and their spouses during their lifetime. Major presidential and vice presidential candidates can also receive Secret Service protection. 

"In order to maintain a safe environment for the president and other protectees, the Secret Service calls upon other federal, state and local agencies to assist on a daily basis," the Secret Service says. 

We rate claims Trump is commander in chief Pants on Fire!

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Former President Donald Trump isn’t the commander in chief

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