Current and potential Republican presidential candidates are seizing on a recent bank collapse to take aim at President Joe Biden, criticizing the bank's actions and Biden's response.
Ahead of Silicon Valley Bank's collapse, the second largest in U.S. history, the Biden administration announced it would back all of the bank's deposits. Regulators also closed another institution, Signature Bank. Biden announced Monday that taxpayer dollars would not be at risk as his administration moved to ease concerns about the banking system, but his current and potential GOP rivals sharply criticized his actions, and Silicon Valley Bank itself.
“Two big banks yesterday closed," former President Donald Trump said at a campaign event Monday night in Iowa, later adding, "We have an economy that is in shambles.”
On his social media platform, Truth Social, Trump also pointed to the collapse and predicted that the country will "HAVE A GREAT DEPRESSION FAR BIGGER AND MORE POWERFUL THAN THAT OF 1929."
Former United Nations Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley tweeted on Monday that — despite the Biden administration’s pushback — the use of money from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp’s Insurance Fund amounted to a bailout by taxpayers because the losses incurred by the fund will be covered by future bank fees paid by bank customers.
“Joe Biden is pretending this isn’t a bailout. It is," she wrote.
Potential presidential contenders also weighed in, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis echoing conservative criticism of Silicon Valley Bank as a "woke" institution.
“This bank, they’re so concerned with DEI and politics and all kinds of stuff — I think that really diverted from them focusing on their core mission," DeSantis asserted on Fox Business, without providing evidence that the bank's diversity, equity and inclusion efforts were related to its failure. The failure was actually attributed to the bank mismanaging investments amid rising interest rates and a struggling tech industry.
Former Vice President Mike Pence did point to those rising interest rates in his commentary on the crisis, blaming government spending during the Biden administration as a main driver of inflation.
“Now we live in a world where certain politically favored businesses are propped up, backstopped and bailed out by government no matter how reckless they may be," Pence wrote in a Tuesday op-ed published in the Daily Mail.
"But ultimately, we have to stop the insanity of bailing out failing businesses," Pence later wrote. " No business is ‘too big to fail.’ Government should no longer choose winners and losers. Only then can we preserve a vibrant, healthy and flourishing free market.”