Your cartoonishly evil Trump administration thing of the day: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the House Financial Services committee on Wednesday that the decision on whether to have a redesigned $20 bill, which would replace the front image of genocidal scumbag Andrew Jackson with one of abolitionist freedom fighter Harriet Tubman, has been pushed back to at least 2026.
Previously, the new design was set to be unveiled in 2020. Why would it take so many extra years to throw Harriet Tubman’s face on a new $20, you ask? According to what Mnuchin told Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley today, it’s for “counterfeiting issues.”
The Tubman $20 is, you might’ve guessed, not a Trump administration project; Jack Lew, Mnuchin’s predecessor in the Obama administration, announced it in April 2016. “The decision to put Harriet Tubman on the new $20 was driven by thousands of responses we received from Americans young and old,” Lew said in a statement at the time. “Her incredible story of courage and commitment to equality embodies the ideals of democracy that our nation celebrates, and we will continue to value her legacy by honoring her on our currency.” At the same time, Lew said Jackson would remain on the $20, just the back side.
Notably, President Donald Trump is a big fan of Andrew Jackson, and appears to have only heard about Frederick Douglass a couple of years ago. And the year he took office, Mnuchin himself declined to endorse replacing Jackson with Tubman on the $20 bill.
So, there’s a bunch of possibilities here—there really is a counterfeiting issue, the Trump administration is just playing to its extremely anti-political correctness/white supremacist base, or this is another Obama administration idea they don’t want to do specifically because it came from the Obama administration.
There’s obviously an inherent contradiction in putting Harriet Tubman on the official currency of American capitalism, the central tool used in the oppressive system of chattel slavery that Tubman fought so valiantly against. At the same time, however: God damn. How racist can you be to de-prioritize replacing the American Hitler with Harriet Tubman on your money?
Either way, Pressley—one of the first two black women elected to Congress from New England—was furious at the move.
“The occupant of the White House, Donald Trump, said that the move to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 was ‘pure political correctness,’” Pressley said. Later, she asked Mnuchin if it was his “personal opinion” that the currency’s imagery “should reflect the diverse representation of leaders who have contributed to this country.”
Finally, Mnuchin responded that it wouldn’t happen until after he’s out of office, and so: “It’s not a decision that is likely to come until way past my term...so I am not focused on that at the moment.”