In the days following the failure and government acquisition of the embattled Silicon Valley Bank, it didn’t take long for conservative political pundits to find ways to blame their more liberal counterparts. In this case, the bank – despite being best known for catering to Silicon Valley’s startups and tech bros – is being blamed for its own downfall due to its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.
Breaking down the right-wing finger-pointing, MSNBC’s “All In” host Chris Hayes slammed the rhetoric as being “comically preposterous” and “offensive.”
“The Trump-aligned Republican Party has to come up with a cover story that papers over this inherent ideological contradiction, and it’s not an easy task,” Hayes said in Tuesday evening’s program. “And I have to, credit where due, tip my hat to them, because they landed on a truly, comically preposterous one: Folks, we’ve got an outbreak of woke banks.”
After showing clips of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, Florida governor Ron DeSantis and others all citing the bank’s value on equity as its downfall – rather than the banking deregulation brought in by the Trump administration – Hayes emphasized as a reminder that “this is the bank that Peter Thiel, the big Trump backer, the big billionaire right-wing dude, like, his funds put their money there. This was the bank of the Silicon Valley tech bros. This bank. The ‘woke’ bank.”
The MSNBC host then pulled up a Sunday op-ed from Andy Kessler of The Wall Street Journal titled, “Who Killed Silicon Valley Bank?“
“Was there regulatory failure? Perhaps. SVB was regulated like a bank but looked more like a money-market fund,” Kessler wrote. “Then there’s this: In its proxy statement, SVB notes that besides 91% of their board being independent and 45% women, they also have “1 Black,” “1 LGBTQ+” and “2 Veterans.” I’m not saying 12 white men would have avoided this mess, but the company may have been distracted by diversity demands.”
Hayes couldn’t hold back his laughter.
“He is saying is that the women, the one Black guy, the one gay person, not to mention the two veterans sitting on the board are why the bank failed. It’s equal parts offensive and preposterous,” Hayes said. “But here’s the thing, it’s important: It’s not really meant to persuade anyone else or anyone who is persuadable. I don’t think it can persuade anyone else. It’s not a serious argument. It’s not really even an argument. It is solely meant to keep their base in-line. It is the kind of lie you tell when you must out of necessity reverse engineer something, anything to sparkle over the monstrously apparent contradictions within your own ideology.”
Trouble for the Silicon Valley Bank began last last Wednesday, when the bank told investors it needed to raise just over $2 billion to offset $1.8 billion in losses, which lead to a number of high-profile venture capital clients pulling their assets from the bank, totaling a staggering $42 billion. As a result SVB was left with a negative cash balance of $958 million. So, on Friday morning, regulators shut the bank down and seized its assets.
Watch Hayes’ takedown of the Republican Party’s response to the matter in the video above.