Washington: A war of words has erupted between Elon Musk and Donald Trump, with the Tesla billionaire declaring that the former US president is too old to run for re-election and should “hang up his hat and sail into the sunset”.
Days after Trump accused Musk of being “another bullshit artist” following Musk’s attempt to withdraw from a $44 billion Twitter deal, the Tesla CEO hit back with a series of tweets suggesting it was time for Trump to get out of politics.
A war of words has broken out between Tesla founder Elon Musk and former US president Donald Trump.Credit:Bloomberg, AP
“Trump would be 82 at end of term, which is too old to be chief executive of anything, let alone the United States of America,” Musk wrote.
“I don’t hate the man, but it’s time for Trump to hang up his hat & sail into the sunset.”
The battle of the businessmen comes as Trump considers announcing another tilt at the White House against President Joe Biden, whose approval rating has reached record lows as he battles issues such as rising inflation and internal dissent over his lacklustre response to the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion rights.
Crowds outside the US Supreme Court after its decision to overturn Roe v Wade on June 24.Credit:AP
The comments also emerge amid a broader debate about the ages of some of the nation’s politicians. Biden, for example, is currently 79 and would be just shy of his 81st birthday by the time of the next election in November 2024.
But as a recent New York Times/Siena College poll found, 64 per cent of Democrats want a different presidential nominee, with many of them citing Biden’s age more than any other factor.
Trump, meanwhile, is 76, which is still far younger than many of the senior politicians currently in Congress, such as Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Republican Chuck Grassley (both 88); House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Congresswoman Maxine Waters (both 83); or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (82 and 81, respectively).
While Trump lost office in November 2020, he continues to have a stronghold over the Republican Party and has consistently teased that he could make a comeback.
But in comments likely to irritate the former president, Musk also gave his endorsement to Trump’s main Republican rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the culture wars warrior best known for shunning masks and vaccine mandates, and his battle against Walt Disney World over his government’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” laws.
“If DeSantis runs against Biden in 2024, then DeSantis will easily win – he doesn’t even need to campaign,” Musk tweeted.
“Do we really want a bull in a china shop situation every single day!?” he added.
“Also, I think the legal maximum age for start of presidential term should be 69.”
Trump and Musk have traditionally shown a level of mutual respect towards each other, but things escalated on Saturday after the former president appeared at a rally in Alaska where he criticised Musk over his proposed acquisition of Twitter.
Musk had sought to buy the social media platform for $US44 billion, but is now attempting to get of out the deal and has accused the company of failing to provide him with the information necessary to calculate the number of spam accounts on the service.
At the rally, Trump also disputed Musk’s claim that he only recently voted Republican.
“Elon is not gonna buy Twitter,” he said while talking up his own social media platform, Truth Social.
“Where did you hear that before? From me. No, he’s got himself a mess. And you know what he said the other day? He said oh I’ve never voted for a Republican … I didn’t know that: he told me he voted for me. So he’s another bullshit artist.”
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