Trump Administration May Abandon Obama Plan to Place Harriet Tubman on $20 Bills
The Trump administration refused to commit to a Barack Obama plan to place Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.
A sign marking the historic spot where American abolitionist and humanitarian Harriet Tubman (1820-1913) lived, served and frequented in Auburn, New York - the site contains Tubman's former home and the home for the aged that she set up to care for the needy.
After plans were advanced during Barack Obama's administration to make Harriet Tubman the first woman of color on American paper currency, things appear to have hit a roadblock under Donald Trump.
During an interview with CNBC on Thursday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin downplayed the importance of replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, saying the Trump administration has yet to make a decision on the matter.
"People have been on the bills for a long period of time. This is something we'll consider. Right now, we have a lot more important issues to focus on," said Mnuchin. "It’s not something that I’m focused on at the moment. The issue of why we change it will be primarily related to what we need to do for security purposes."
This set off alarm bells for critics of Trump, who view the backtrack as another example of the Trump administration's inability to acknowledge people of color. They made their voices heard after Mnuchin shared his thoughts, shaming Trump for not moving forward with the Tubman switch.
A Harriet Tubman $20 is not a priority for Trump's team..
BUT DAMMIT WE GOTTA KEEP THOSE CONFEDERATE PARTICIPATION TROPHIES FOR ALL TO SEE!
The Trump administration is so threatened by the existence of women & people of color, they can't even acknowledge Harriet Tubman on the $20 https://t.co/JEQHhKSTFo
Andrew Jackson was a murderous populist.
Harriet Tubman risked death to free thousands.
Clearly Trump's Admin sympathizes with the former. https://t.co/FooHts8tUY
The white supremacist Trump administration might put the brakes on commemorating Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill #notshocked https://t.co/5tPsPfzm88
Wow. Even Harriet Tubman is getting shafted by the Trump administration. No woman is safe - even those not living. https://t.co/nswcW5HMM0
Though the inaction on the potential switch is controversial, it is not necessarily a new development for the Trump team. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump called putting Tubman on the $20 bill "pure political correctness," and played up his affection for Andrew Jackson.
"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.”
Thank you Andrew Jackson! #POTUS7 #USA🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/GToWsWXiNv
Even if the Trump administration decides to move forward with Tubman on the currency, a delay is expected between the final decision and her potential appearance on U.S. currency. When the decision to give Tubman a spot on the $20 bill was made in early 2016, former Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew posted an open letter on the matter, explaining new $20, $10, and $5 bills would not be unveiled until 2020.