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Senate Republicans Rebuke DeSantis for Saying Ukraine Is Not a Vital U.S. Interest

“I don’t know what he’s trying to do. Obviously, he doesn’t deal with foreign policy every day as governor.”

Senator Lindsey Graham speaks in the foreground while pointing a finger. Senator John Cornyn is seated beside him in the background.
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Senators Lindsey Graham and John Cornyn

Senate Republicans rebuked Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Tuesday for saying that continuing to aid Ukraine to fight off the Russian invasion was not in the United States’ “vital national interests.”

The Republican Party has grown more divided in recent months over how long the U.S. should continue to send aid to Kyiv—and how much it should send. DeSantis, who is rumored to be considering a presidential run in 2024, made clear on which side of the debate he stands.

“While the U.S. has many vital national interests…becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” DeSantis said in response to a questionnaire from Fox News host Tucker Carlson Monday night.

Several prominent members of the Senate GOP were quick to condemn DeSantis’s remarks. Fellow Floridian Marco Rubio, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, argued that the U.S. does “have an interest” in assisting Ukraine because it provides another opportunity to be tougher on China.

“Well, it’s not a territorial dispute in the sense that any more than it would be a territorial dispute if the United States decided that it wanted to invade Canada or take over the Bahamas,” Rubio told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday. “Just because someone claims something doesn’t mean it belongs to them.”

“I don’t know what he’s trying to do,” Rubio added. “Obviously, he doesn’t deal with foreign policy every day as governor.”

Rubio has been outspoken about continuing aid for Ukraine, but he appeared to flag in December, saying constituents were likely wondering why the U.S. was “spending all this money on someone else’s war.” He also said it would be tough to continue getting all the votes necessary for the huge tranches of aid funds, implying that there could be a time limit on how much longer U.S. aid would continue.

Texas Senator John Cornyn said he was “disturbed” by DeSantis’s stance. “I hope he feels like he doesn’t need to take that Tucker Carlson line to be competitive in the primary,” Cornyn told reporters. “It’s important for us to continue to support Ukrainians for our own security.”

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham didn’t mention DeSantis by name, but he was adamant on Twitter that “those who believe that Russia’s unprovoked and barbaric invasion of Ukraine is not a priority for the United States… are missing a lot.”

Both Cornyn and Graham have been unwavering in their support for continuing Ukraine aid. Graham was one of three senators (and the only Republican in the group) who visited Ukraine in January, during which the South Carolina lawmaker urged the U.S. to send tanks to Kyiv.

Graham and Cornyn also both compared stopping Ukrainian aid to countries that failed to intervene during Hitler’s rise to power.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also supports continued aid for Ukraine, one of the few things on which he and his Democratic counterpart Chuck Schumer agree.

Presidential candidate Nikki Haley slammed DeSantis and said he was “copying” Donald Trump. Haley, who served as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, noted that she had told Carlson aiding Ukraine was in U.S. interests.

But some Republicans, mostly in the House of Representatives, are beginning to lose patience with how much aid the U.S. is sending to Kyiv. Representative Matt Gaetz introduced the “Ukraine Fatigue Resolution” in February, which called to end all U.S. military and financial aid to Ukraine. The bill has 10 co-sponsors but is unlikely to pass, even though Speaker Kevin McCarthy has also called to cut back on aid.

What Is Andrew Cuomo Thinking With the Launch of a “Progressives for Israel” Group?

This is a bizarre move by the disgraced former New York governor.

Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images

While some half a million Israelis protest the country’s authoritarian escalation, and while Israel has killed Palestinians at a rate of nearly one every day so far in 2023, disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced he is launching an organization called “Progressives for Israel.”

“You can’t denounce antisemitism, but waver on Israel’s right to exist and defend itself,” said Cuomo in his announcement Monday, linking criticism of Israel to antisemitism. Some view such an equation as antisemitic, as it treats Jews as monolithic in their stances on Israel as a state.

“I’m starting an organization called Progressives for Israel. And I’m going to call the question for Democrats,” Cuomo continued. “Do you stand with Israel, or do you stand against Israel? Because silence is not an option.”

Cuomo’s challenge coincides with waves of protesters both inside and outside of Israel speaking out against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to weaken the judiciary’s ability to check the power of other government branches—giving Netanyahu’s far-right coalition greater ability to oppress Palestinians, and help the prime minister weasel out of his own corruption trials.

Cuomo’s puzzling move comes as he reportedly considers taking on Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in the 2024 New York Senate primary—which is all the more puzzling given his recent track record.

Cuomo resigned from the governor’s office in 2021 while embroiled in scandal. At least 11 women accused the governor of sexually harassing them during his time in office. Cuomo and his aides also willfully undercounted and concealed nursing home Covid-19 death numbers. He attempted to shield political donors who were hospital and nursing home executives from lawsuits related to Covid. And he allegedly granted special Covid test access during the early phases of the pandemic to family members and other well-connected figures.

Cuomo wrote a memoir amid it all entitled American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the Covid-19 Pandemic. Cuomo was then accused of using his and his employees’ taxpayer-funded time to work on the book that secured him a $5.1 million deal.

When all was said and done, even President Biden called on Cuomo to resign after the reports of the 11 accusers came out. Cuomo’s brother and CNN anchor Chris was fired months later, amid an inquiry into his own sexual harassment accusations, and whether he used his television platform to help his governor brother stave off his own accusations.

Even after all the damage Governor Cuomo left in his wake, he announced his new organization. It’s not clear what exactly is progressive about tying concern for the welfare and safety of Jewish people to unequivocal support for a state that acts as an occupying force, and which even many of its own citizens deem out of control. What is clear is how cynical the move is, if it is indeed a warm-up to an attempt at a political comeback.

“God isn’t finished with me yet,” Cuomo proclaimed last year in his first public appearance after resigning in 2021. “I have many options in life and I’m open to all of them,” he said during a speech in which he railed against “cancel culture” and the media for apparently being the reason he and his brother faced consequences for their own actions. “Let’s make some trouble.”

It seems like the trouble has begun.

Ohio Sues Norfolk Southern for Environmental and Economic Damage After Toxic Train Derailment

Ohio Attorney General David Yost announced the lawsuit against the massive rail company.

Ohio EPA and EPA contractors collect soil and air samples from the derailment site on March 9 in East Palestine, Ohio.
Ohio EPA and EPA contractors collect soil and air samples from the derailment site on March 9 in East Palestine, Ohio.
Michael Swensen/Getty Images

The state of Ohio is suing rail giant Norfolk Southern after the company’s disastrous train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, last month.

“The derailment was entirely avoidable and the direct result of Norfolk Southern’s practice of putting its own profits above the health, safety and welfare of the communities in which Norfolk Southern operates,” the lawsuit reads.

The lawsuit, which was announced Tuesday, cites Norfolk Southern’s escalating accident rate, which has risen 80 percent in the past 10 years. At least 20 Norfolk Southern derailments since 2015 have involved chemical discharges. The entire industry is responsible for over 1,000 derailments every year.

The lawsuit strikes Norfolk Southern on 58 violations of federal and state laws. Ohio is seeking the recovery of the costs of natural resource and property damages, economic harm to the state and residents, and present and future state expenses made in response to environmental and public health concerns. The state also seeks a baseline “declaratory judgment holding Norfolk Southern responsible.”

The suit names an array of particular laws violated, including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, otherwise known as Superfund), enables federal support to clean up hazardous disasters like the derailment while pursuing liability charges against the actual actors responsible. The suit acts as a vessel for Ohio to secure guarantees that Norfolk Southern will be held liable to the costs incurred by the state while mitigating the disaster.

Last week, Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw pledged to a Senate panel that the company is committed to doing “what’s best” for the community.

Meanwhile, people in and outside of East Palestine have reported an array of symptoms ranging from sore throats and staying migraines to bloody stools and skin rashes. Animals and family pets have died. And Norfolk Southern workers compelled to work to clean up the site without adequate PPE have reported ongoing symptoms.

“Ohio shouldn’t have to bear the tremendous financial burden of Norfolk Southern’s glaring negligence,” state Attorney General Dave Yost said Tuesday. “The fallout from this highly preventable incident may continue for years to come, and there’s still so much we don’t know about the long-term effects on our air, water and soil.”

This post has been updated.

Ron DeSantis Is Now Attacking the Hyatt Regency Because It Hosted a Drag Show

The Florida governor has been waging a war on drag and on LGBTQ people in his state.

Ron DeSantis
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis moved Tuesday to strip the Hyatt Regency of its liquor license for allegedly allowing minors to attend a Christmastime drag show.

DeSantis, who has been cracking down on LGBTQ rights, filed an administrative complaint through the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation accusing the hotel in Miami of allowing people under age 18 to attend a “sexually explicit” drag performance.

The complaint did not provide any evidence that minors had been in attendance other than one blurry photograph of a person’s face.

DeSantis had previously warned any venues that hosted the touring show A Drag Queen Christmas that his administration would seek legal action against them. He has also mentioned the possibility of having child protective services investigate parents who take their children to drag shows. A Drag Queen Christmas required individuals under the age of 18 to be accompanied by an adult in order to attend.

In February, DeSantis threatened to strip the Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation of its liquor license for allegedly allowing children to attend its production of A Drag Queen Christmas.

DeSantis has gone to all-out war with anything he deems “woke,” and with LGBTQ rights in particular. He enacted the state’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay” law, banned transgender women from playing women’s sports, and vowed to defund diversity, equity, and inclusion programs on college campuses.

He is also part of a larger trend of Republicans demonizing drag queens and trans people. Tennessee recently became the first state to ban drag performances in public, while more than 20 similar bills move through state legislatures across the country.

Republicans accuse drag performers and trans people of being pedophiles as a way to fearmonger about the LGBTQ community. Many on the right say that attacking the LGBTQ community is a means to protect children, but their actions actually expose people—including children—to violence.

Ron DeSantis Wants to Make It a Felony to Have an Undocumented Person in Your Home or Car

A new Florida bill criminalizes not just undocumented Floridians but anyone who associates with them.

Ron DeSantis
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Around 772,000 Florida workers, students, and community members are undocumented. And Governor Ron DeSantis wants to make it a felony for anyone to have them in their home or even give them a ride.

Senate Bill 1718, part of Desantis’s broad repressive legislative agenda this year, targets not just undocumented people but also anyone associated with them. The bill, which is likely to pass the Republican-controlled state legislature, criminalizes anyone who transports an undocumented person “into or within this state.” In other words, anyone—co-worker, friend, neighbor, classmate—giving a simple ride to someone they know or care about who is undocumented would be guilty of a third-degree felony.

The bill also criminalizes anyone who “conceals, harbors, or shields” (or “attempts” to do so) an undocumented person in “any place within this state.” Nearly 4 percent of Floridians are undocumented. The bill text, reading like an edict issued in Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Shadow Children series, foments fear about these hundreds of thousands of people. It isn’t hard to imagine law enforcement agencies conflating a house party or simple afternoon cup of tea with a secret migrant-harboring operation.

Under the framework, any person with a prior conviction who commits the “crime” of hosting an undocumented person would be liable to an even higher second-degree felony.

The bill imposes thousands of dollars of fines on private employers who give work to undocumented people; employers are not allowed to continue employing someone if they find out they are undocumented. And any undocumented person who works without appropriate identification papers would be liable to a third-degree felony. The bill also prohibits undocumented people from being admitted to the Florida bar, overturning standing law that currently allows it.

If the bill is passed into law, Florida would also refuse to recognize any out-of-state licenses issued to undocumented people. Authorities would be directed to take DNA samples from undocumented people who are booked into jails or detention facilities per orders from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Finally, the bill orders Medicaid-accepting hospitals to ask patients to indicate their citizenship status. Ostensibly meant as a cost-tracker for undocumented patient care, the bill reads that the question must be accompanied with an assurance that the patient’s response will not affect care or result in a report to immigration authorities. However, given the extremity of the rest of the bill, even with regard to criminalizing people who host undocumented people in “any place,” the assurance does not welcome complete trust.

“Governor Ron DeSantis and his Republican colleagues continue to show that they are more focused on attacking and vilifying immigrants and Latinos to advance their political agenda than solving the real problems hurting Floridians,” said Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Nanette Barragán and Vice Chair of Policy Darren Soto, who represents Florida’s 9th district, in a statement.

Republicans hold supermajorities in both the Senate and House, and, of course, the governorship; the repressive bill that further criminalizes undocumented people—and the co-workers and classmates, neighbors, and friends with whom they’ve developed relationships—is set to pass.

“This should be the model for all 50 states going forward,” boasted state Senator Blaise Ingoglia, the sponsor of the draconian bill.

After Largest Bank Failure Since 2008, Nancy Mace Says Now Is Not the Time for Politics

The South Carolina representative seems to want to “thoughts-and-prayers” bank regulation.

Nancy Mace
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Representative Nancy Mace

As federal and state regulators rush to contain the fallout from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, Representative Nancy Mace wants to make sure that we don’t politicize the situation.

The South Carolina Republican called out Elizabeth Warren on Monday night for discussing the inherently political issue of bank regulation. Warren, a.k.a. the person who would know best, slammed Congress and the Federal Reserve in a New York Times op-ed for failing to step in and prevent the banks’ failures.

Idk, probably shouldn’t politicize such a serious issue. Also your statements are irresponsible, false and poorly timed,” Mace tweeted.

Republicans have already been fast to blame literally anything but deregulation of the financial industry for the SVB and Signature breakdowns, particularly (mind-blowingly) diversity. But Mace is the first to say that rather than place blame anywhere at all, we should just thoughts-and-prayers away the problem.

Naturally, the internet had some thoughts.

Mace has developed a reputation for pandering to the left while voting staunchly with the right. She condemned Donald Trump’s role in January 6 but didn’t vote to impeach him. She says her party is becoming too anti-choice but continues to vote for anti-abortion measures.

But it’s not entirely clear what she hopes to achieve with her tweet. It’s not as if there’s a “little guy” to stick up for here. If anything, Mace is the one making “irresponsible, false and poorly timed” quips.

The New Inflation Report Has Some Signs of Hope

Here’s what you need to know about the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ new consumer price index report.

Shoppers are seen in a supermarket.

Inflation is slowly but steadily going down, the consumer price index showed, according to a report released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The CPI measures the monthly change in prices that U.S. consumers pay for certain goods. It’s a key government indicator of inflation.

Here are three things to know about the inflation report and what it might mean going forward.

1. It has some of the lowest increases in more than a year.

Prices rose 6 percent in February compared to a year earlier. This is a decent slowdown from January, which saw prices go up 6.4 percent compared to the year before. This is the eighth consecutive month that the inflation rate has dropped and the smallest yearlong increase since September 2021.

Obviously, 6 percent is still high, especially considering the Federal Reserve’s target of 2 percent inflation. But the pace of inflation is slowing, decreasing to a 0.4 percent increase in February compared to 0.5 percent in January.

Removing the price increases for food and energy, which are always volatile even before the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine tied up supply chains, prices rose 5.5 percent compared to last February. This is the smallest yearlong increase since December 2021.

Mark Zandi, the chief economist at economic research group Moody’s Analytics, said inflation was “headed in the right direction.”

Inflation is painfully high, but steadily receding. It is on track to be closer to 3% by year’s end, and the Fed’s inflation target by next summer,” he said on Twitter.

2. But inflation in key areas remains high.

Energy prices have been steadily decreasing over the past few months, which has contributed to the slowing inflation. Prices for fuel, gas, and electricity fell 0.6 percent from January.

But prices for food and shelter increased. Shelter, in particular, was the biggest contributor to prices hikes in February, with housing costs going up 0.8 percent. Part of that is due to the Fed’s aggressive campaign of raising interest rates, which has driven up mortgages even as home prices go down. People who own property are having to pay more, while people who can’t afford to buy are having to stay in the rental market. While rent costs have started to ease up, they’re still high due to high demand.

Costs for groceries went up 0.4 percent in February, and the price of eating out went up 0.3 percent.

3. What does this mean looking forward?

The Fed begins its policy-setting meeting Tuesday and was widely expected to hike interest rates by 0.25 percent for the second time.

The new CPI report is unlikely to affect that decision, but the Fed could be influenced by the recent closures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. Regulators in California and New York, respectively, swooped in to shut down both banks after panicked customers began to withdraw their funds en masse.

Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius predicted Sunday that the SVB and Signature failures would prompt the Fed to hold off on raising interest rates for now.

But Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at the consulting firm Pantheon Macroeconomics, thinks the Fed will stay the course.

“Assuming markets stay calm and no more banks fail, we think the Fed will hike” by 0.25 percent, he wrote in an analysis Tuesday.

“To be clear, we think further hikes are now unnecessary; the lagged effect of the increases over the past year are enough to push inflation back to target, but Fed officials have been unwilling so far to accept this argument.”

The U.S. central bank is scrambling to achieve a so-called soft landing, or a decrease in inflation without tipping the economy into a recession. The labor market has remained strong overall, causing concerns that the economy has not slowed sufficiently to avoid a downturn.

Dean Baker, senior economist at the Center for Economic Policy and Research, put the likelihood of a 0.25 percent hike at “50-50.”

“I think we have a very good shot [at a soft landing] as long as the Fed doesn’t get carried away,” he told The New Republic.

This post has been updated.

Biden to Issue Executive Order Increasing Background Checks on Gun Sales

Biden is expected to sign the order while visiting Monterey Park, California, where a deadly mass shooting took place earlier this year.

Joe Biden
Leon Neal/Getty Images

On Tuesday, President Biden is visiting Monterey Park, California—where 11 people were shot dead and another nine were injured amid a Lunar New Year Festival. At the site of the deadliest mass shooting in the history of Los Angeles County, Biden will sign an executive order seeking to increase the level of background checks conducted before gun sales.

The order will also direct his Cabinet to develop a plan for how the government can better support communities suffering from gun violence. The Cabinet is ordered to raise public awareness surrounding “red flag” laws, which allow people to ask a court to determine whether someone is dangerous and merits having their guns temporarily confiscated.

Another plank of the plan calls for Attorney General Merrick Garland to elevate focus on rules for federally licensed gun dealers, ensuring the dealers are compliant with background check requirements. Biden also directs Garland to develop and implement a program to stop dealers whose licenses have been revoked or surrendered from continuing to sell guns.

Biden’s order also calls for enhanced reporting of ballistics data on a federal, state, and local law enforcement level; currently, local and state law enforcement agencies are not required to report such data. The mandate’s aim is to strengthen a federal clearinghouse that helps law enforcement agencies match shell casings to guns.

Biden is also asking the Federal Trade Commission to issue a public report that analyzes how manufacturers market guns to minors.

The order is not so much an expansion of new regulation as a move to more properly carry out standing rules. It follows the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which passed last year after two shootings in May: one at a school in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two adults dead; the other a racist mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, that left 10 people dead.

The bill—though called “bipartisan,” it only had the support of 15 Republican senators and 14 Republican House members—focused more on mental health and school safety programs. The gun regulation aspect of the bill focused mainly on expanding background checks for gun purchasers under the age of 21 and attempting to close the so-called “boyfriend loophole,” disqualifying anyone found guilty of a domestic violence charge in a romantic relationship from purchasing firearms, regardless of marital status.

Biden’s direction is a welcome one. But until there’s a more meaningful crackdown on guns themselves, and until Republicans are not allowed to keep posturing as standing behind “commonsense” gun reforms while mostly not voting for even the most basic policies, people will keep dying.

Republicans Who Pushed for Financial Deregulation Blame Silicon Valley Bank Collapse on “Woke Agenda”

A list of Republicans blaming the bank failure on wokeness, contrasted with their own record.

Senator Josh Hawley speaking
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Senator Josh Hawley

In the aftermath of the collapse of bloated tech lender Silicon Valley Bank, conservatives have flailed around, lazily throwing any culprit at the wall except the-word-that-must-not-be-said: deregulation.

Republican members of Congress are blaming “wokeness,” critical race theory, and diversity, equity, and inclusion—ignoring their own history of pushing for a deregulated financial industry.

Missouri Senator Josh Hawley on Monday complained that SVB was “too woke to fail,” opining that “these SVB guys spend all their time funding woke garbage (‘climate change solutions’) rather than actual banking and now want a handout from taxpayers to save them.” SVB, of course, lends money to any number of start-ups, plausibly including ones aiming to address climate change (and like any capital-driven financial institution, that’s definitely not its main focus). And Hawley—while posturing as a pro-worker, hardscrabble leader—has actually sought to weaken consumer protection and bank regulation.

After the 2008 financial crisis, the Obama-era Dodd-Frank reforms helped establish the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. Spearheaded by Senator Elizabeth Warren, the agency’s main task was to watchdog banks, lenders, securities firms, debt collectors, and so on to try to protect consumers. The CFPB has conducted oversight including fining Wells Fargo $100 million for transferring funds from authorized customer accounts to covertly opened unauthorized accounts in order to accrue fees and other secret charges. All that’s to say, to any regular person, the CFPB would be an organization worth strengthening, not weakening.

Not to Hawley, however. In 2017, the then–Missouri attorney general signed onto an amicus brief attacking the CFPB for “out-of-control regulations”; Hawley’s brief was tied to a lawsuit filed by PHH Corporation, a massive mortgage lender that was fighting a $109 million CFPB fine for overcharging loans to consumers and for an alleged “kickback scheme.” PHH allegedly referred customers to mortgage insurers it partnered with, and in exchange for the referral, the mortgage insurers purchased “reinsurance” from the PHH’s subsidiary companies.

With Hawley’s help, the company won, on the grounds that other agencies refused to go after PHH for the fraudulent scheme in the past; the court moreover ruled that the White House could remove the director of the CFPB at will. Hawley could’ve chosen to argue that regulation of the financial industry should be stronger, not weaker; he chose the latter.

Meanwhile, an array of Hawley’s fellow Republicans peddle the charade while having their own hands dirty. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Representatives Virginia Foxx, James Comer, and Andy Biggs have all come out with “woke” statements blazing, as they deride Biden’s plan to support depositors without burdening any taxpayers.

In 2018, all four Republicans voted to roll back Dodd-Frank rules that would have subjected Silicon Valley Bank to stronger regulations and stress tests to determine its stability and security.

Representative Ronny Jackson has also come out in full self-parodizing form:

While relatively newer to Congress, Jackson has had plenty of time to focus on the financial sector. One bill he has signed onto would prevent the Treasury Department from requiring a financial institution to report transfers in and out of accounts. Three more he’s signed onto would block a Securities and Exchange rule for companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, in order to better tackle climate-related catastrophes.

Jackson, like the rest of his party, seems so deeply preoccupied with not letting shady corporate interests off the hook.

The Right’s Desperate Attempt to Blame the Silicon Valley Bank Collapse on Diversity

A note to Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and others: Find a new scapegoat.

Silicon Valley Bank name on a screen, with a red arrow plummeting downwards
Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto/Getty Images

As the U.S. government swooped in to not bail out Silicon Valley Bank, many on the right suspected they had found the culprit behind the bank’s collapse: diversity.

California regulators took over SVB, a major tech start-up lender, on Friday after customers began withdrawing their money from the bank en masse. Just two days earlier, as funds dwindled due to high interest rates and low investments, SVB had sold securities at a nearly $2 billion loss and then failed to recoup its losses.

The reasons for the bank’s collapse are well known and widely acknowledged, but that hasn’t stopped right-wingers from pointing their fingers at another specter.

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,” Wall Street Journal opinion writer Andy Kessler mused Sunday.

Multiple Fox News hosts blamed the collapse on women and LGBTQ people. Tucker Carlson said SVB focused too much on “pioneering glass-ceiling-shattering women,” while Pete Hegseth said the senior vice president of risk management was too “heavily focused” on LGBTQ inclusion programs.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has said he intends to dismantle diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, programs on state college campuses, charged SVB was “so concerned with DEI and politics” that it “diverted them from focusing on their core mission.”

Far-right commentator Charlie Kirk and Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy both said DEI initiatives were behind the bank’s collapse. Ramaswamy also blamed environmental, social, and governance factors.

Former Trump administration members Donald Trump Jr. and Stephen Miller accused SVB of being too “woke.”

SVB’s collapse is the latest instance of diversity being used as an irrational scapegoat. Having a more diverse board of directors is obviously not to blame. If anything, the blame falls on the state and federal regulators who failed to see what was going wrong and step in earlier, Karen Petrou, a managing partner at the consulting firm Federal Financial Analytics, told NPR’s Marketplace.

But Republicans have lately been blaming all crises on diversity as a way to try and argue against DEI initiatives. Just last week, Georgia Representative Mike Collins insisted that focusing too much on DEI is what led to the Norfolk Southern train derailment in Ohio.