Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had expressed reluctance to replace Andrew Jackson with the African-American abolitionist
Andrew Jackson may have just gotten a new lease on life.
The Trump Administration may not put in place plans to replace the nation’s seventh commander-in-chief on the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “Ultimately we will be looking at this issue. It’s not something I’m focused on at the moment,” he told CNBC, adding that currency counterfeiting was a greater concern than representation on the notes. “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.”
Mnuchin’s Obama-era successor, Jacob Lew, had proposed replacing Jackson, a slave-owning populist, with Tubman, a former slave-turned-abolitionist. This was to have taken place by 2020, but the potential about-face comes as no great surprise. As a candidate, President Donald Trump had said that he admired Tubman but would prefer to keep Jackson on the twenty.
“I would love to leave Andrew Jackson and see if we can maybe come up with another denomination. Maybe we do the $2 bill or we do another bill,” Trump previously said. Like Jackson, the first POTUS born west of the Appalachians, Trump has cast himself as a crusader for the working class. A portrait of 7 currently hangs in 45’s Oval Office.
Nonetheless, Mnuchin’s ambiguity has already triggered a scathing response from Trump opponents. The Treasury big’s comments come as the Trump Administration remains embroiled in controversy over the president’s recent remarks that appeared to equate white supremacists with anti-fascist protestors.
— 🌎Joshua Malina🌎 (@JoshMalina) August 31, 2017
Trump administration won’t commit to Obama’s plan to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. Trump wants to meet with her first.
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) August 31, 2017
Tubman’s route into every wallet has been a circuitous one. The Obama Administration originally planned to put her onto the $10 note at the expense of founding Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. But those were shelved amidst the blockbuster success of the eponymous Broadway musical dedicated to the “$10 Founding Father.” There was also criticism that Hamilton, who advocated manumission and never owned slaves, was being shelved instead of Jackson, who presided over the genocidal “trail of tears.”
No currently circulated U.S. bills feature a woman, though females have appeared on the currency in the past. The first human female to be depicted on government-issued legal tender was Pocahontas, who graced the $20 note in the 19th century.
© 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved