By Ryan Gaydos
Published September 18, 2018
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., condemned social media star Salt Bae on Monday after the Turkish chef appeared in a video with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at a restaurant.
Video posted to social media showed Maduro, whose socialist country is in the middle of an economic disaster, eating expensive steak at one of the chef’s restaurants in Turkey.
“I don’t know who this weirdo #Saltbae is, but the guy he is so proud to host is not the President of #Venezuela,” Rubio wrote in a tweet. “He is actually the overweight dictator of a nation where 30% of the people eat only once a day & infants are suffering from malnutrition.”
Salt Bae, whose real name is Nusret Gokce, calls meeting Maduro a “once in a lifetime moment,” according to The Independent. Maduro is also seen smoking a cigar with his wife Cilia Flores.
“This guy who admires dictator @NicolasMaduro so much actually owns a steakhouse in, of all places, #Miami,” Rubio wrote, adding the restaurant’s phone number for anyone who wanted to complain.
Maduro made the pit stop on his way back from China.
Venezuela was once among Latin America’s wealthiest nations, holding the world’s largest proven oil reserves. However, a recent fall in oil prices accompanied by corruption and mismanagement under two decades of socialist rule have left the economy in crisis.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.