Marco Rubio incites online mob against ‘Salt Bae’ chef who dined with Venezuelan leader
The salt-sprinkling chef, famous for his appearance in the ‘Salt Bae’ meme, whose name is Nusret Gökçe, hosted Maduro and his wife at his Istanbul restaurant over the weekend, and showed off his famous guest in a now-deleted Instagram post. Maduro feasted on a $275 steak, smoked cigars with Gökçe, and described his visit to the eatery as a “once in a lifetime moment.”
The dinner drew condemnation from Venezuelan opposition activists, who complained Maduro was feasting while his countrymen "suffer and die of hunger," per opposition leader Julio Borges. Others accused Gökçe of “feeding the pain of a people and the ego of a dictator.”
Joining the indignation was Rubio, a frequent critic of the government in Caracas. He first slammed the “weirdo” Salt Bae for hosting the “overweight dictator of a nation where 30% of people eat only once a day & infants are suffering from malnutrition.”
I don’t know who this weirdo #Saltbae is, but the guy he is so proud to host is not the President of #Venezuela. He is actually the overweight dictator of a nation where 30% of the people eat only once a day & infants are suffering from malnutrition. https://t.co/sSNPK9cAAx— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 18, 2018
After discovering that the salt-slinging meme chef owns a steakhouse in downtown Miami, the senator then tweeted out its address and phone number “in case anyone wanted to call.”
This guy @nusr_ett who admires dictator @NicolasMaduro so much actually owns a steakhouse in, of all places, #Miami. It’s called NUSR-ET STEAKHOUSE MIAMI located at 999 Brickell Avenue, Miami, FL 33131— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 18, 2018
The phone number is 1 305 415 9990 in case anyone wanted to call. https://t.co/7CDkgHVZWh
Rubio’s Twitter-doxxing of the Turkish chef has raised some eyebrows on the platform. Senators, one commenter argued, “shouldn’t harass their constituents.” Another suggested Twitter should suspend Rubio for violating the platform's rules unless he deleted the tweet.
Senators Shouldn't Harass Their Constituents on Twitter. Marco Rubio Just Did. https://t.co/d1tjktgrUk— Jim Swift (@JSwiftTWS) September 18, 2018
So a private citizen is getting attacked by an elected official for “admiring a dictator”? I can show you every President of the US over the past five decades literally bowing to and dancing for Saudi dictators like the corrupt, useless marionettes they are.— Amir (@AmirAminiMD) September 18, 2018
Rubio will be back on his bullshit in the morning, pretending to care about civility, but here he is trying to whip up a mob against salt bae. https://t.co/v3PeFbqqQs— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) September 18, 2018
Well, this might not be popular, but: Twitter should force Marco Rubio to take down the tweet, and if he does not, it should suspend him. https://t.co/4ECFq0hqtE— Robby Soave (@robbysoave) September 18, 2018
Rubio reacted to criticism by saying he got "pissed" at seeing the "disgusting" video of Maduro dining in Istanbul.
“All I gave was the phone number – this isn’t a political disagreement," Rubio told reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday afternoon, adding that Maduro "is a criminal."
The government in Caracas has been a constant target for Rubio, who called Venezuela “the new Cuba” in a 2014 Senate speech. Since then, Rubio has pushed for tougher sanctions against the Latin American country, has encouraged a military coup against Maduro, and has spoke in favor of US military intervention in Venezuela.
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