Steve Mnuchin said getting the abolitionist on the bill is "not something I'm focused on at the moment."
Image via Flickr user Mike Licht
Back in 2015, a grassroots organization called Women on 20s petitioned the government to kick Andrew Jackson off the $20 bill—given the fact that he owned slaves, orchestrated the Trail of Tears, hated paper money, etc.—and swap out his mug with someone else. They floated a few female nominees to replace him, and after mulling the issue over, the Obama administration announced it had come to a compromise: Move Jackson to the back of the bill, and place Harriet Tubman on the front.
But now it looks as if those plans may get derailed along with all the other Obama-era policies Trump seems to be scrapping. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin threw the long-awaited revamp into question on Thursday, telling CNBC he really only wants to change the design of the bill to do "what we need to do for security purposes."
"Ultimately we will be looking at this issue. It's not something I'm focused on at the moment," he said of putting Tubman on the bill. "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."
President Trump is an outspoken fan of old Andrew "Indian-Killer" Jackson, going so far as to hang a portrait of him in the Oval Office, blast out a tweet promising to "build on [his] legacy," and claim the former president probably could've single-handedly prevented the Civil War. When news broke in 2016 that Tubman might be booting him off the $20, Trump—then still a candidate—called the move "pure political correctness."
"Well, Andrew Jackson had a great history, and I think it's very rough when you take somebody off the bill," Trump said on the Today Show 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."
The Obama administration had also planned to feature a host of other women on the $5 and $10 bills, including Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Marian Anderson, and Eleanor Roosevelt, the New York Times reports. But unless someone manages to print out a ton of hyper-realistic Abes and Hamiltons, it doesn't look like we can expect to see any new faces on our currency anytime soon.
"The number one issue why we change the currency is to stop counterfeiting," Mnuchin told CNBC. "I've received classified briefings on that. And that's what I'm focused on for the most part."
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