Elon Musk says Trump, Biden and anyone over 70 should be banned from running for office

World’s richest man recently trolled Bernie Sanders over his advanced age

Andrew Naughtie
Friday 03 December 2021 15:55
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Elon Musk has clashed with octogenarian Bernie Sanders on Twitter

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SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk has a radical suggestion for the future of American politics: enforcing an age threshold beyond which candidates cannot stand for public office.

In a tweet on Thursday, the ultra-wealthy silicon valley entrepreneur wrote: “Let’s set an age limit after which you can’t run for political office, perhaps a number just below 70.”

It is unclear exactly what prompted his message, though he recently found himself in a spat with 80-year-old Bernie Sanders – a leading proponent of corporation and wealth taxes that would presumably hit Mr Musk and his empire hard.

“I keep forgetting that you’re still alive,” Mr Musk tweeted at the Vermont senator, whom he called “a taker, not a maker”.

The implications of an ageing political elite are a major talking point on the American right, specifically with reference to 79-year-old Joe Biden – aka “sleepy Joe”, as many Republicans call him.

Mr Biden’s speech patterns and supposed forgetfulness have been caricatured and falsely exaggerated many times to make him appear senile and unfit – even though he is only a few years older than Donald Trump, who at the time of his inauguration was the oldest US president to be sworn in. Should Mr Trump be reinstated after the next election, he will be as old as Mr Biden was at his inauguration in 2021.

While the US sets a minimum age for those running for Congress or the presidency, there is no maximum, and many senators are still working in the chamber well into their eighties and even beyond. The oldest sitting senator, 88-year-old Dianne Feinstein, has not yet said whether she will run for another six-year-term in 2024; the second-oldest, the only slightly younger Chuck Grassley, is running for re-election in 2022. Should he be re-elected, he will be 95 by the end of his next term.

Mr Musk, who currently ranks as the world’s richest man, is known for tweeting out spontaneous outbursts and grandiose pronouncements that have often landed him in trouble.

Most notoriously, he was sued for defamation after labelling a British cave diver “pedo guy”, though he ultimately won that case. More recently, he lost more than $50bn in two days after instigating a Twitter poll on whether or not to sell 10 per cent of his Tesla shares. However, he remains ahead of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos in the billionaires’ league with a net wealth of around $323bn.

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