Donald Trump slams Elon Musk's Twitter 'mess'

Former US president embroiled in war of words with Tesla founder

This file combination of images shows a file photo of SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk (L) in Washington and former US president Donald Trump at the US Capitol. AFP
Powered by automated translation

Former US president Donald Trump has lashed out at Elon Musk, saying the Tesla co-founder should “focus on getting himself out of the Twitter mess”, as the war of words between the two men escalated.

Mr Trump's attack is the latest in a series of insults the two have traded in recent days. His remarks came in response to a series of tweets Mr Musk posted on Tuesday, in which the Tesla founder suggested the 76-year-old Republican should retire from politics.

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

In a separate tweet he added: “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.”

Mr Trump did not appear to appreciate the comments, taking to his Truth Social platform hours later to accuse Mr Musk of visiting the “White House asking me for help on all of his many subsidised projects”.

Mr Trump, who had about 88 million followers on Twitter before he was banned from the platform in the wake of the January 6, 2021 insurrection, helped create Truth Social.

“I could have said, 'drop to your knees and beg', and he would have done it,” Mr Trump wrote to his 3.51 million followers on on Truth Social, adding that Mr Musk would be “worthless” if he had not received subsidies from the Trump administration.

“Now Elon should focus on getting himself out of the Twitter mess because he could owe $44 billion for something that's perhaps worthless,” wrote Mr Trump, who was banned from the social media platform after the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

Mr Trump also encouraged Twitter to pursue its lawsuit against Mr Musk, which it launched after the billionaire abandoned his takeover bid.

The social media company's lawyers called the termination “invalid and wrongful”, a letter showed.

In response, Mr Musk posted a meme on Twitter of an elderly character from The Simpsons angrily gesturing towards a cloud.

The feud between Mr Musk and Mr Trump began at a rally in Anchorage, Alaska on July 9, during which the former president scoffed over how the Tesla head said he would vote Republican.

“He said the other day, ‘Oh, I’ve never voted for a Republican.’ I said, ‘I didn’t know that,’” The Anchorage Daily News reported Mr Trump saying. “He told me he voted for me, so he’s another [expletive] artist.”

Updated: July 13, 2022, 10:12 PM