Elon Musk May Be Very Wealthy, but He's Legally Ineligible to Be President

Elon Musk may be one of the wealthiest men in the world, but he can't run for president in the U.S. because of a clause in the Constitution.


Sep. 27 2023, Published 11:19 a.m. ET

Elon Musk attending Senator Schumer's forum on AI in Washington, D.C.
Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • Some of Elon Musk's most diehard supporters want the billionaire to run for president.
  • Because he was born in South Africa and the president has to have been born in the U.S., Elon is ineligible for the role.
  • Even if Elon could run for president, it's unclear whether he'd actually be good at the job.
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There are plenty of people who are not huge fans of billionaire Elon Musk. For everyone who hates him, though, Elon also commands a pretty large group of supporters who firmly believe in his genius, and believe that one of the world's wealthiest men could do even more good if he was given a little bit more power.

In fact, many of Elon's biggest fans have long been calling on him to run for president. They think that having someone with his genius and organizational knowledge running the government would undoubtedly make the country a better place, which may have led many of us to wonder whether Elon could actually run for president if he wanted to.

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Elon Musk in a suit jacket and white shirt speaking to a crowd.
Source: Getty Images

Can Elon Musk run for president?

The U.S. Constitution doesn't say a ton about the requirements for being the U.S. president, but there's one requirement that Elon doesn't meet. The Constitution says that you have to be at least 35 years old, you have to be a U.S. citizen, and you have to have been born in the U.S. Unfortunately for the Elon-heads, Elon was born in Pretoria, South Africa in 1971, which means that he's ineligible to be president under current law.

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There have been proposals in the past to remove the requirement that the president be born in the U.S. Calls to remove that clause came to a fever pitch after Arnold Schwarzenegger ran and was elected the governor of California in 2003. Of course, actually amending the Constitution takes a lot of work, so those efforts didn't get very far when the rubber met the road.

Even though Elon isn't in the White House, he still has enormous influence over the direction of the country. As the owner of a major social media platform, as well as an auto manufacturer and a private space program, he has plenty of business interests that have helped steer America into the future. The presidency itself, though, seems pretty unlikely.

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Why do people want Elon to be president?

The impulse to elect someone like Elon as president is understandable, given how much success he has been able to have in the private sector. What's also true, though, is that being good at making money doesn't necessarily mean you'll have the skills necessary to be good in government. Those skills are related, but they are certainly not exactly the same, and there are areas of expertise that are entirely reserved for government.

It might be nice to think that the government should be run like a business, but the two have very different end goals and require pretty different skillsets.

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