No, But Really, Why Won’t The Trump Administration Release The Harriet Tubman $20 Bill?

Written by Ann Brown
Harriet Tubman

Many were elated when it was announced that abolitionist Harriet Tubman would be the new face of the $20 bill, replacing President Andrew Jackson. But now the Trump administration announced this won’t happen next year as planned — and maybe not for many years to come.

It might take nearly a decade, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said. One thing is for sure, it definitely will not occur under the Trump administration. And there has been no real explanation why.

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Tubman, who was born into slavery and became an abolitionist and political activist, would be the first Black woman to have her face on U.S. currency. The new bill was scheduled to be released in 2020 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, CBS News reported.

“It’s not a decision that is likely to come until way past my term, even if I serve the second term for the president,” Mnuchin told the House Financial Services Committee. “So I’m not focused on that for the moment.”

According to Mnuchin, bills are changed for security reasons and there are other bills before the $20 that must be redesigned first.

The process of changing the bill started under Mnuchin’s predecessor in the Obama administration, Jack Lew. Lew spearheaded a 10-month process in which the public sent in suggestions as to whose portraits could appear on U.S. bills. According to Lew, that process inspired him to put Tubman on the $20 bill. In April 2016, the Treasury Department announced the new bill would debut “as quickly as possible.”

During the 2016 campaign, Trump said he did not support putting Tubman on the 20, calling the plan “pure political correctness.” Instead, he suggested putting Tubman “‘on the $2 bill or another bill,’” CBS News reported.

Slave owner Andrew Jackson is President Trump’s favorite commander in chief.

The campaign to put a woman on the $20 bill was “part of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote,” Nola reported.

The Harriet Tubman $20 bill delay erupted a firestorm on Twitter. One person posted: “This seems in line with the MAGA philosophy. Sadly no surprise.”

Another tweeted: “Why, because white nationalists in the corrupt Trump White House don’t want to honor a woman or a person of color?”