UNITED NATIONS—Before starting his first address before the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 26, 38-year-old El Salvador President Nayib Bukele asked the audience to hold on a second as he took out his phone to snap a selfie.
“Believe me, many more people will see this selfie than will hear this speech,” Bukele quipped before delivering his address calling on the United Nations to change with the times and for world leaders to do more to connect with their countries’ youth.
The former mayor of the capital San Salvador, who took office in June and has recently become a new father, is a prolific user of social media.
In his speech, he attributed his election victory to his mastery of platforms like Facebook Live, which he said his political opponents did not fully grasp.
In another made-for-social-media moment, Bukele’s wife Gabriela brought their baby daughter Layla to hear the president’s address.
After finishing his speech, Bukele uploaded the photo to Twitter, where it received more than 7,000 likes in less than an hour. The picture showed him smiling in front of the U.N. logo—a map of the world surrounded by olive branches—and Argentine U.N. Ambassador Martin Garcia Moritan, one of several General Assembly vice presidents.
“Maybe in a few years, thousands of us will not have to travel to New York to meet in this building,” Bukele said. “A series of videoconferences would have cost several hundred million dollars less, and I’m sure it would have the same effect, if not greater.”
Bukele met with U.S. President Donald Trump for a bilateral meeting on Sept. 25 in New York.
At a press conference before the meeting, the two leaders talked about a deal signed two weeks ago that will see the United States support El Salvador in further developing its border security and asylum procedures, paving the path for El Salvador to sign America’s “safe third country” asylum agreement—the one already been signed by Guatemala and Mexico.
“The President has done an incredible job with MS-13,” Trump said of Bukele’s efforts to kerb the notorious street gang whose motto is “kill, rape, control.”
“He realizes what a threat they are … and we all appreciate that.”
By Luc Cohen. Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.