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GOP Rep. Williams asks bank CEOs if they’re socialists or capitalists

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Republican Rep. Roger Williams wanted to clarify one thing with the CEOs of seven of America’s largest banks during a congressional hearing on Wednesday: Were they capitalists or socialists?

Williams started off his questioning of the seven CEOs — Michael Corbat of Citigroup, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, James Gorman of Morgan Stanley, Brian Moynihan of Bank of America, Ronald O’Hanley of State Street, Charles Scharf of BNY Mellon, and David Solomon of Goldman Sachs — by decrying socialist policies in other countries and warning what would happen if economic system came to the US.

After the preamble, Williams asked the seven bank CEOs his binary question.

“I want to ask each one of you, starting with Mr. Corbat, a straightforward question: Are you a socialist or are you a capitalist?” Williams asked.

Each of the CEOs in attendance confirmed they were capitalists.

“Well it’s a shutout for the socialists today,” Williams replied.

The question elicited some chuckles from another member on the committee, who in a hot mic moment laughed about Williams asking the leaders of some of the world’s largest financial institutions whether they were capitalists.

The issue of socialism has recently been gaining steam in political discourse with the rise of candidates and lawmakers, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who are affiliated with the Democratic Socialists of America.

Read more: Here’s the difference between a ‘socialist’ and a ‘Democratic socialist’

While there are differences between democratic socialism and pure socialism, Republicans have used the affiliations to attack Democrats and their policy proposals, invoking failed socialist and communists states, most frequently Venezuela.

President Donald Trump has tried to connect Democrats to socialism and has said the 2020 election will be a “referendum on socialism versus capitalism.”

This is also not the first time Williams has posed the question during a hearing. On March 13 during a hearing on the National Flood Insurance Program, the Texas Republican also asked a panel of experts whether they were socialists or capitalists.

Watch Wednesday’s moment below:

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