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Republican lawmakers and 2024 presidential candidates are divided over federal regulators’ decision to intervene Sunday after the failure of California’s Silicon Valley Bank, with some praising the move while others slam the Biden administration over its actions and attempt to turn the conversation toward culture war issues that have become the party’s rallying cry.

The Federal Reserve stepped in on Sunday to ensure that depositors – including the nearly 90% of whom had funds in SVB that exceeded the $250,000 limit of what is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) – would have access to all of their money on Monday. The move represents the biggest federal intervention in the financial market since the 2008 economic collapse.

The plan is funded through bank fees and not borne by taxpayers, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and President Joe Biden have both emphasized. Yellen said that the government would not “bail out” the bank, but many nonetheless are calling the actions a bailout.

Biden on Monday said during a speech that depositors would be protected while investors in the bank would not. He urged calm and projected confidence in the banking system.

The message stood in sharp contrast to former President Donald Trump’s commentary on the situation.

Trump, who is the current front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, laid the blame at Biden’s feet and referenced the president’s proposed federal budget while predicting a massive, looming depression.

“With what is happening to our economy, and with the proposals being made on the LARGEST AND DUMBEST TAX INCREASE IN THE HISTORY OF THE USA, TIMES FIVE, JOE BIDEN WILL GO DOWN AS THE HERBERT HOOVER OF THE MODRRN AGE. WE WILL HAVE A GREAT DEPRESSION FAR BIGGER AND MORE POWERFUL THAN THAT OF 1929. AS PROOF, THE BANKS ARE ALREADY STARTING TO COLLAPSE!!!” Trump said in a post strewn with capital letters and some grammatical and spelling errors on his social media site, Truth Social.

Then, on Monday, Trump reposted several posts from a Republican commentator criticizing the move and calling SVB “woke.”

“Wheres the bail out for East Palestine houses that have plunged in value? The farmland thats poisoned? The restaurants and businesses that people won’t visit anymore? They’re all left to die. But if you’re woke big tech? You get every dollar you need in a single weekend,” one post said, referencing a train derailment and chemical spill in Ohio that Republicans have seized on as a political flashpoint.

“Woke banks will fail. Woke people will fail. Woke schools will fail … Everything woke turns to sh–,” another post read.

That tack is similar to the one taken by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Though DeSantis has not officially declared his candidacy, he is considered Trump’s stiffest competition for the GOP nomination.

DeSantis used the news of SVB’s failure to further criticize corporations that have diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives – policies Republicans often call “woke.”

“I mean, 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 said in an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”

Experts say the reasons behind the bank’s collapse are complicated, but there is no indication that any corporate policies relating to diversity efforts or sustainability goals had anything to do with the failure. The bank got caught with long-term government bonds that had declined in value as the Federal Reserve raised interest rates sharply over the past year and an inability to raise capital quickly enough to meet withdrawals from customers.

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley – who declared her candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination last month – also slammed the Biden administration’s intervention, though she stayed clear of comments on culture war issues.

“Joe Biden is pretending this isn’t a bailout. It is. Now depositors at healthy banks are forced to subsidize Silicon Valley Bank’s mismanagement. When the Deposit Insurance Fund runs dry, all bank customers are on the hook. That’s a public bailout,” Haley said in a statement. “Depositors should be paid by selling off Silicon Valley Bank’s assets, not by the public. Taxpayers should not be responsible.”

And little known 2024 Republican contender Vivek Ramaswamy – entrepreneur and political activist – published an op-ed in “The Wall Street Journal” on Monday arguing against a bailout.

Other high-profile figures in conservative circles, including Donald Trump Jr. and former House Speaker Newt Gringrich also slammed Biden and the Fed’s intervention.

While many 2024 candidates – both official and expected – appeared aligned on the issue, members of Congress were more fractured.

GOP representatives aligned with Trump and with the more populist wing of the party were harshly critical of the actions.

“Most elected Democrats are openly advocating for crony capitalism right now. They want government to bail out millionaire depositors above the $250,000 FDIC limit,” Rep. Thomas Massie, Kentucky Republican, posted Sunday night on Twitter.

“Understand what’s happening at FDIC: They’re taking the insurance premiums that were paid in to protect depositors under $250,000 (little guys) and using it to cover deposits of the very rich,” Massie said in another post on Monday.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia Republican, also posted a slew of messages on the subject, melding together the culture wars, Republican criticism of Biden over the Ohio train spill and criticism of the Fed.

“The Fed is extending loans against high quality assets to banks for nearly zero interest to prevent a run on the banks Monday all because SVB didn’t insure over 89% of their deposits and instead hedged on failing funds that offered ‘sustainable finance and carbon neutral operations to support a healthier planet,’” she said in one post. “In other words the fools running the bank were woke and almost became broke, but the Democrats and the Fed swooped in to make sure their woke donors at SVB didn’t go under.”

But others were more measured – even positive – about the Biden administration’s actions.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, told Fox News that the federal government had the ability to cope with the failure.

“They do have the tools to handle the current situation. They do know the seriousness of this. And they are working to try to come forward with some announcement before the markets open. I’m hopeful that something can be announced today to move forward. This bank is a unique bank where they do have assets, they have an amazing clientele,” McCarthy told the network Sunday before the government announced its plan.

McCarthy, like other Republicans, voiced support for a plan that would see another financial institution buy SVB. Regulators held an auction Sunday, but there were no takers for the U.S. branch of the bank.

Sen. Mitt Romney, Utah Republican and frequent target of Trump’s corner of the party, said he flat-out supported the government’s plan.

“The federal government must act immediately to assure depositors at SVB and at regional and local banks everywhere that their deposits are completely safe. The immediate and long term consequences of failure to do so could be extreme,” Romney tweeted Sunday, before the Fed announced its moves.

When the Fed later released a joint statement with the Treasury Department and the FDIC outlining the government’s plan, Romney retweeted the statement with a simple message: “Right decision.”

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