Surprise! Harriet Tubman May Not Be On the New $20 Bill After All

Image via Getty.

Last April, it was announced that Harriet
Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, a decision
that at the time seemed perfectly viable. Back then, we had a
black, sane president, and his successor was poised to be the
first woman to ever hold that office. Things weren’t perfect,
but they were stable. Fast forward to present day, where
everything is burning and Harriet Tubman is probably never
gonna get her bill.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed doubt about the
bill’s update to CNBC on Thursday, telling the network that
it’s “not something I’m focused on at the moment.” So…what is
he focused on?

“The No. 1 issue why we change the currency is to stop
counterfeiting. So the issues of what we change will be
primarily related to what we need to do for security
purposes. I’ve received classified briefings on that. And
that’s what I’m focused on for the most part,” Mnuchin said.

“People have been on the bills for a long period of time. And
this is something we will consider. Right now, we’ve got a
lot more important issues to focus on,” he added.

Designs for the new currency, approved by then-Treasury
Secretary Jacob Lew, were scheduled to be finalized in 2020, in
order to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 19th
Amendment. But Trump himself was clear at the time about his
reservations, saying on the Today Show that he would “love to
leave Andrew Jackson and see if we can maybe come up with
another denomination.” Perhaps, he suggested, Tubman could
settle for the $2 bill? From CNBC:

While Trump complimented Tubman, he said at the time that he
didn’t agree with replacing Jackson on the denomination. “I
don’t like seeing it. Yes, I think it’s pure political
correctness. Been on the bill [Jackson] for many, many years.
And, you know, really represented somebody that really was
very important to this country.

Trump has made very public his love for Jackson, and even
traveled to Tennessee in March to celebrate the former
president and slave owner’s 250th birthday at his plantation.
He described Jackson’s
presidency as a model for his own, declaring ominously: “Wait
till you see what’s going to be happening pretty soon, folks.”

The Obama administration originally wanted to put a woman on
the $10 bill, but amended its decision amid outrage from those
dying to keep Alexander Hamilton where he was. Instead, Lew
that Jackson would be shunted to the back of the $20, and that
women would be added to the backs of $5 and $10 bills.

Though he knew at the time that all of these decisions were all
contingent on the blessing of the incoming president, it hardly
seemed possible that there’d be much debate.

“I don’t think somebody’s going to probably want to do that—to
take the image of Harriet Tubman off of our money? To take the
image of the suffragists off?” he said.

At least there’s always the DIY route.

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