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Elon Musk says Trump should ‘hang up his hat and sail into the sunset’

Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla, speaks during a 2020 conference in Washington. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Days after former president Donald Trump claimed Elon Musk lied about voting for him, the billionaire Tesla chief executive said Monday that Trump should “hang up his hat and sail into the sunset,” adding that he was too old for another potential run at the presidency in 2024.

Speaking at an Alaska event on Saturday, Trump referred to a tweet in which Musk, who is attempting to terminate his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, wrote that he had recently voted for a Republican for the first time last month.

“He said the other day, ‘Oh, I’ve never voted for a Republican.’ I said, ‘I didn’t know that,’ ” Trump said at the Anchorage rally for Alaska Republicans Sarah Palin and Gov. Mike Dunleavy. “He told me he voted for me, so he’s another bullshit artist.”

Musk responded to a video of Trump’s remarks in a series of tweets Monday night.

“I don’t hate the man, but it’s time for Trump to hang up his hat and sail into the sunset,” Musk tweeted.

Musk also called on Democrats to “call off the attack” and not focus on whether Trump decides to again run for the White House.

“Don’t make it so that Trump’s only way to survive is to regain the Presidency,” said Musk, who previously noted he is leaning toward supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2024 if the Republican were to run for president.

While again offering his support of DeSantis, the billionaire stressed that Trump would be too old to be president.

“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.

On Tuesday evening, Trump said that Musk would be “worthless” without government support for his projects and that he had asked the then-president for help in subsidizing them.

“I could have said ‘drop to your knees and beg,’ and he would have done it,” Trump said on his Truth Social app.

Musk’s tweets against Trump come as Twitter is setting the stage for a legal battle with the billionaire to enforce a takeover it wasn’t even sure it wanted. As the company’s stock fell another 11.3 percent after Musk announced Friday he was backing out of the deal to purchase Twitter, the board for the social media giant is expected to file a lawsuit in Delaware Court of Chancery as soon as this week to keep the Tesla chief executive on the hook.

Musk’s lawyers are arguing that he has a right to drop out of the $44 billion agreement because Twitter hasn’t given him enough information about the company’s business.

Twitter shares plunge as it braces for messy legal battle with Elon Musk

The back-and-forth between Musk and Twitter is unfolding as Trump continues to rail against the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection plans. The seventh public hearing on Tuesday is expected to focus on the ways in which Trump and his allies summoned far-right militant groups to Washington as he grew increasingly desperate to hold on to power. The committee is expected to argue that Trump used the date of the congressional counting of the votes, Jan. 6, 2021, to block a peaceful transfer of power.

Jan. 6 hearing expected to focus on link between militants, White House

Shortly after it was announced that Musk was acquiring Twitter, he said in May that he would reverse the company’s ban on Trump. Twitter had banned Trump’s account after the Capitol riot, citing the “risk of further incitement of violence.” Even though Trump has said he would not rejoin Twitter, Musk said the move was “a mistake.”

“I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump. I think that was a mistake,” Musk said at a May 10 event hosted by the Financial Times. “It alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice.”

On Saturday, Trump, who has continued to make false claims of election fraud, said a top priority for Republicans should be to “stop left-wing censorship and to restore free speech in America.” As he urged supporters to sign up for his social media company, Truth Social — “It’s hot as a pistol” — Trump turned his attention to Musk and Twitter.

“Who the hell knows what’s going to happen?” Trump said. “He’s got a pretty rotten contract. I looked at his contract, not a good contract.”

Trump then lashed out at Musk for allegedly telling the former president he had voted for him. Musk donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016, according to Federal Election Commission data, and tweeted in May that he voted for Clinton in 2016 and President Biden in 2020. Musk also wrote that he voted for Republican Mayra Flores, who won a special election last month in South Texas’s heavily Hispanic, blue-leaning 34th Congressional District.

When a conservative media personality challenged Musk’s tweet saying Trump should “hang up his hat and sail into the sunset,” the billionaire said the former president carried with him “too much drama.”

“Do we really want a bull in a china shop situation every single day!?” Musk wrote. “Also, I think the legal maximum age for start of Presidential term should be 69.”

There is no upper age limit for candidates seeking the presidency. If Trump were to run and be the GOP nominee, he would be 78 on Election Day. Biden would be about two weeks shy of his 82nd birthday on Election Day in November 2024.

Musk went on to claim that if DeSantis were to run against Biden, “then DeSantis will easily win — he doesn’t even need to campaign.”

Rachel Lerman, Yiwen Lu, Jacqueline Alemany and Hannah Allam contributed to this report.