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Senate GOP candidate Blake Masters suggests diversity at Federal Reserve is harming the economy

Masters, of Arizona, defended the remarks in a video and lashed out at what he called President Joe Biden's "affirmative action regime."

Blake Masters, the GOP nominee for a Senate seat in Arizona, suggested in a sarcastic tweet this week that the sluggish economy and the high rate of inflation were tied to diversity in the high ranks of the Federal Reserve.

"Finally a compelling explanation for why our economy is doing so well," Master, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, wrote Sunday in retweeting an Associated Press article with the headline: "Fed tackles inflation with its most diverse leadership ever."

The article noted that more female, Black and gay officials are now weighing in on interest-rate decision-making than ever before in the central bank's more-than-100-year history.

Masters defended his remarks Monday in a video on Twitter.

“I don’t care if every single employee at the Fed is a Black lesbian as long as they’re hired for their competence and not because of what they look like or who they sleep with,” Masters said. “News for Joe Biden: We are done with this affirmative action regime.”

Of affirmative action, Masters said, "I can't think of a single policy since the end of Jim Crow that's been worse or more divisive for race relations in this country."

Masters has suffered recent setbacks and come under scrutiny for shifting positions in his effort to unseat Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly.

Last week, Masters overhauled the policy page on his campaign website, scrubbing it of language that had taken a tough stance on abortion and rewriting or erasing five of his six positions on the issue.

Meanwhile, the Senate GOP’s top super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, has said it is slashing $8 million in ad spending in Arizona throughout September, as it looks for clear paths to boost Republicans’ chances of taking control of the chamber this fall.

Masters has frequently invoked race and drawn on culture wars in one of the most closely watched Senate races.

In an appearance on the podcast “The Jeff Oravits Show" in April, Masters said “Black people, frankly,” were responsible for America’s gun violence problem.

In May, he was among a group of conservative candidates who invoked versions of the “great replacement theory” — a conspiracy theory that claims there is a plot to weaken the influence of white Americans — by saying Democrats want to give amnesty to thousands of immigrants to claim them as voters.

Masters has also disparaged Black women, having previously argued that Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman confirmed to the high court, was “a horrible pick” and an “affirmative action candidate.”

In Monday's video, Masters also attacked Vice President Kamala Harris, who he said was “so incompetent she can’t even get a sentence out.”

"There's such a thing as fairness. We're going to end this unfair and incompetent affirmative action regime," Masters added.

NBC News has asked Masters' and Kelly's campaign for comment.