Mnuchin May Not Put Harriet Tubman on $20 Bill

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Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that Andrew Jackson may stay on the $20 bill, despite plans made more than a year ago by the Obama administration to replace him with the abolitionist Harriet Tubman.  According to The Hill:

He said the primary reason the Treasury changes the design of bills is to prevent counterfeiting, something Obama administration officials also emphasized when announcing the changes in April 2016.

“It’s not something that I’m focused on at the moment” Mnuchin said. “The issues of why we change it will be primarily related to what we need to do for security purposes.”

The Washington Post notes that Mnuchin’s hesitance to go through with the plan could be popular with the White House:

President Trump has said he is very fond of Jackson, at times remarking that his election was reminiscent of the populist campaign that brought Jackson into power in 1829. Trump has a portrait of Jackson on the wall in the Oval Office.

Last year, in an interview with NBC, Trump said Tubman was “fantastic” but said putting her on the $20 bill was an example of “pure political correctness.”

“Well, Andrew Jackson had a great history, and I think it’s very rough when you take somebody off the bill,” Trump said last year. “I think Harriet Tubman is fantastic, but I would love to leave Andrew Jackson or see if we can maybe come up with another denomination.”

In April 2016, when then-Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew announced the plan to change the bill, The New York Times said it was “the most sweeping and historically symbolic makeover of American currency in a century, proposing to replace the slaveholding Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman, the former slave and abolitionist.” The changes announced by Obama and Lew were partly in response to the campaigns that sprung up to push for the inclusion of women and people of color on currencies.

According to The Hill, the bills as originally reimagined would also feature images of women on the backs. Leaders of the women’s suffrage movement would be displayed prominently on the reverse of the $10 bill, and significant civil rights events at the Lincoln Memorial would be placed on the back of the $5 bill.


Emily Wells
​Emily Wells is an Ear to the Ground blogger at Truthdig. As a journalist, she began as a crime reporter at the Pulitzer-winning daily newspaper, The Press-Enterprise...
Emily Wells

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