One of the Republican Party’s favorite claims of the last several years is that racism is no longer an issue in America and that any liberal saying as much is a hysterical commie, socialist, Marxist, or all of the above. That claim obviously has no basis in reality and if you’d like a recent example proving as much—aside from the dog whistle attacks on the first Black woman to be nominated to the Supreme Court, the disproportionate police brutality against Black people, and the absolute hysteria over the letters “CRT”—boy, do we have one for you!

In an interview with reporters on Tuesday, Indiana senator Mike Braun kicked things off by saying that the Supreme Court never should have established the national right to an abortion via Roe v. Wade. “That issue should have never been federalized, [it was] way out of sync I think with the contour of America then,” Braun said. “One side of the aisle wants to homogenize [issues] federally, [and that] is not the right way to do it.” Individual states, he insisted, ought to be able to decide these things “through their own legislation, through their own court systems.”

Based on this logic, Braun was asked if he thought the same standard should apply to Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 decision in which the Supreme Court struck down state laws banning interracial marriage. He responded: “When it comes to issues, you can’t have it both ways. When you want that diversity to shine within our federal system, there are going to be rules, and proceedings, that are going to be out of sync with maybe what other states would do. That’s the beauty of the system. And that’s where the differences among points of view in our 50 states ought to express themselves.” Let’s pause here and let it sink in that what Braun refers to as “the beauty of the system” and letting states “express themselves” is letting some states potentially decide, in the year 2022, that interracial marriage should not be legal.

That’s an incredibly repugnant stance to take—some might even call it racist!—and so the reporter tried to clarify if that’s really what Braun meant, asking: “So you would be okay with the Supreme Court leaving the question of interracial marriage to the states?” To which the U.S. senator responded with a clear and emphatic “yes,” adding: “I think that that’s something that if you’re not wanting the Supreme Court to weigh in on issues like that, you’re not going to be able to have your cake and eat it too. I think that’s hypocritical.”

The reporter then asked Braun to share his thoughts on Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 decision that ruled that the Constitution protected the marital right to contraception. “You can list a whole host of issues,” Braun responded. “When it comes down to whatever they are, I’m going to say that they’re not going to all make you happy within a given state, but that we’re better off having states manifest their points of view rather than homogenizing it across the country, as Roe v. Wade did.” In other words, you might not like it if some states say pregnant people can’t get an abortion, married women can’t go on birth control, and a white person can’t marry a Black person, but them’s the breaks.

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Several hours later, when, we assume, someone on Braun’s staff had a panic attack, his office released a statement saying he “misunderstood” the question about Loving and totally hates racism. “I misunderstood a line of questioning that ended up being about interracial marriage,” Braun said. “Let me be clear on that issue—there is no question the Constitution prohibits discrimination of any kind based on race, that is not something that is even up for debate, and I condemn racism in any form, at all levels and by any states, entities, or individuals.” (Notably, he did not walk back his comments about Roe or Griswold, because apparently he’s not concerned about coming off like he thinks women should be treated as chattel.)

As Dan Carden of the Times of Northwest Indiana noted, Braun’s claims of being confused about what he was responding to are less than believable given that the question was “asked multiple times in different ways to ensure Braun meant and understood what he said concerning interracial marriage.” More likely, he understood the question just fine—he simply didn‘t like the reaction to his answers.

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