'Death cult leader' Marco Rubio faces furious backlash after telling Americans to get over their 'mask fetish'

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida — the state that's the current epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. — wants Americans to get over their "mask fetish" unless they're worried about getting "a little sick."

"Stop with the mask fetish," Rubio wrote Wednesday on Twitter, above a video of himself discussing the issue. "If you want to wear a mask as a courtesy to those around you or because you are in no mood to get even a little sick go ahead. If you want your kids to mask in school that's your right. But we aren't going to mask our way out of this."

Last week, the CDC issued new guidance saying fully vaccinated people should "wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission" — prompting a new round of "mask wars" stretching from the halls of Congress to Rubio's home state, where GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis has made it his mission to eradicate face coverings.

Here's how Vox's Terry Nguyen explained the reason for the new CDC guidance: "The far more contagious delta variant of the virus that causes Covid-19 has rattled health officials. Beyond its rapid spread, the delta variant appears to cause more serious illness. It also seems better able to elude immune protection from vaccines and prior infections. Some breakthrough infections have been reported among vaccinated people, although the majority seem to lead to few, if any, symptoms. And while the vaccination rate has started to pick up again, it's still far below its peak in April. Tens of millions of Americans remain unvaccinated, and in some regions of the US, less than 30 percent of people are immunized."

Nevertheless, Rubio claimed in his video that masks are unnecessary.

"So what does common sense tell you? It tells you if you're vaccinated, you're probably not going to get COVID, but if you do, you're not going to get very sick," Rubio said. "If you're not vaccinated, you're probably going to get COVID eventually, and when you do, it might be nothing, it might be really bad, and you might end up in the hospital. That's the facts, and you present that to people, and you talk to people as adults, as grown-ups. You present this information and you allow people in a free country to make the best decisions for themselves and for their families. ... But instead, the CDC and a lot of other people spent the first few days here arguing about masks. Who are we going to strap masks on now? How are we going to force masks on people?"

Here's how Twitter reacted: