The Jury Talks Back

5/24/2019

Harriet Tubman On $20 Bill Won’t Happen Until Trump Is Out Of Office

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 7:02 am

[guest post by Dana]

In 2016, Donald Trump appeared on The Today Show and claimed during an interview that replacing Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on a $20 bill was a “P.C. move”:

“Andrew Jackson had a great history,” Trump told the Today show when asked about the president most infamous for genocidal actions against Native Americans. “I think it’s very rough when you take somebody off the bill. Andrew Jackson had a history of tremendous success for the country.”

Asked whether he’s a fan of Tubman’s, however, the GOP frontrunner said she’s “fantastic,” but that “I would love to leave Andrew Jackson [on the $20] and see if we can maybe come up with another denomination [for Tubman]—maybe we do the $2 bill or another bill.”

Not content to end it there, Trump continued: “I don’t like seeing it. I think it’s pure political correctness. [Jackson] has been on the bill for many, many years and really represented somebody that was really very important to this country.”

Ugh. Of course, by this time in the campaign, Trump he had already successfully tapped into his base and validated their anger, frustration and belief that they had been left behind. He knew what to say to rally supporters.

Thus it was unsurprising that at the House Financial Services Committee hearing, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that the redesigned $20 bill with Harriet Tubman’s likeness on it would be “delayed” until 2028, long after President Trump is out of office (because we all know that it takes the most advanced nation in the world eight years to redesign a $20 bill):

The redesign of the $20 bill featuring Harriet Tubman will no longer be unveiled in 2020, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday.

The unveiling had been timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Mnuchin said the design process has been delayed and no new imagery will be unveiled until 2028.

“The primary reason we have looked at redesigning the currency is for counterfeiting issues,” Mnuchin said in response to questions by Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., during a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee. “Based upon this, the $20 bill will now not come out until 2028. The $10 bill and the $50 bill will come out with new features beforehand.”

Seriously?? Stop pretending we don’t see through this charade. Make the $20 bill the priority! Especially as $20 bills are in wider circulation than the $10 bill or $50 bill.

Interestingly, while there hasn’t been confirmation by officials that President Trump made the actual decision about delaying the the Tubman $20 bill, Mnuchin was apparently concerned that the President might cancel the new bill altogether:

Treasury Department officials did not say whether Mr. Trump had a hand in the decision, and Mr. Mnuchin would not say whether he himself believes that Tubman should be on the bill’s face. “I’ve made no decision as it relates to that,” Mr. Mnuchin said Wednesday at a congressional hearing in response to a question from Representative Ayanna S. Pressley, Democrat of Massachusetts.

[…]

Mr. Mnuchin, concerned that the president might create an uproar by canceling the new bill altogether, was eager to delay its redesign until Mr. Trump was out of office, some senior Treasury Department officials have said.

By now everyone has their opinion of whether Trump is a racist or just an unfiltered blowhard looking to cut his next deal, increase him status, increase his bank account and increase the name Trump . With any other president, I would say that it’s hard to see how Mnuchin’s announcement could have a positive impact on re-election efforts, and on the GOP as a whole. However, in this case, I’m sad to say that I’m not so sure anymore.

On a purely political note: There is an important election just around the corner. Trump is running for a second term, Trump needs votes and he needs to take advantage of any opportunity that comes his way to increase voter turnout and grow his support. Making the bill happen post-haste was a no-brainer. But instead of jumping on the opportunity, President Trump foolishly missed out on the golden opportunity served to him on a silver platter. Making sure that the Harriet Tubman redesign wouldn’t be unveiled during his tenure, along with his previous praise of Andrew Jackson and relegation of the famed abolitionist and freed slave to the $2 bill is a distasteful and underhanded signal to his base. Convince me I’m wrong.

Anyway, in retrospect, this naivete by Mnuchin’s predecessor is laughable:

WHEN THEN-TREASURY Secretary Jack Lew decided in 2016 to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, he knew it would be up to the next administration to implement the change. But it seemed highly unlikely that anyone would upend a plan to honor this great American hero with a currency redesign that would also include depictions of historic events such as the suffragist march on Washington. “I don’t think somebody’s going to probably want to do that — to take the image of Harriet Tubman off of our money? To take the image of the suffragists off?” Mr. Lew said incredulously.

I’ll leave you with a photograph of this powerful mural depicting Harriet Tubman. It was painted by artist Michael Rosato on the wall of the Harriet Tubman Museum & Education Center in the city of Cambridge. It was completed just this week.

Untitled

–Dana

3 Comments »

  1. And what, precisely, is the reason to redesign the $20 (or any other US currency) save for perhaps adding some new security measures (which do not require substantial changes to appearance anyway?)

    I think it really does sound like more PC drivel in this case, so why do it? On this one, it sounds like you need to list a third option that Trump might be (other than racist or a blowhard); not stupid.

    Harriet Tubman would be my first choice for a spot on a new (and much needed!) piece of US currency, such as the $500 bill (which was last printed in 1945, when $500 was worth a hell of a lot more). But redesigning currency the way they do with postage stamps is both absurd and inconvenient. If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.

    BTW, if Tubman is going to appear on currency, this is the powerful image of her I want;
    https://www.range365.com/resizer/Y0f7H82qA3uvHOlCQ_w2YdC0QnM=/1000×428/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-bonnier.s3.amazonaws.com/public/W7RZSXD5G43RAKF672QSNGOLVE.jpg

    That image sends messages worth sending, in several ways. If that was going to be on the $20, I’d even support a redesign to do it. Other than that, heck no – no more PC drivel.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 5/24/2019 @ 2:46 pm

  2. Jackson wasn’t a great President, and if I had to pick one person to remove from our currency it would be him. However, is this really a big deal right now?

    Comment by Sean — 5/25/2019 @ 8:33 am

  3. @Arizona, now that image you linked would make for an awesome design.

    Comment by Sean — 5/25/2019 @ 8:34 am

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