Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Again Casts Doubt on Whether Harriet Tubman Will Be Featured on $20 Bill

On left, abolitionist heroine Harriet Tubman is pictured. On right, former President Andrew Jackson appears. (Credit: Getty Images via CNN)

On left, abolitionist heroine Harriet Tubman is pictured. On right, former President Andrew Jackson appears. (Credit: Getty Images via CNN)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday punted again Wednesday when pressed about an Obama-era plan to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a Massachusetts Democrat, questioned Mnuchin during a House Financial Services Committee hearing, asking about plans to put the Underground Railroad hero on the bill as part of its redesign.

“I’ve made no decision as it relates to that,” Mnuchin replied.

He said in response to repeated inquiries from Pressley that he is focused primarily on anti-counterfeiting and security measures, and that he anticipates the new $20 bill would not come out until 2028.

When the redesign was first announced in 2016, the Tubman-featured bill was expected to make its debut in 2020.

He went on to say decisions about the imagery on the $20 bill “will not be an issue that comes up until most likely 2026.”

“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 said. “So I am not focused on that at the moment.”

The comments on Wednesday were the latest in a years-long saga to redesign the bill.

Mnuchin’s predecessor, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, announced in 2016 that the US would swap out President Andrew Jackson, the slave-owning president whose legacy is synonymous with the Trail of Tears, with Tubman. Under Lew’s plan, Tubman — an escaped slave who would be the first black woman featured on official US currency — would be on the face of the bill and Jackson moved from the front of the $20 to its back.

President Donald Trump previously slammed the move as “pure political correctness.”

He said that Tubman was “fantastic” and suggested putting her on the $2 bill, which features President Thomas Jefferson, instead.

As President, Trump visited Jackson’s grave and put a portrait of the 19th century populist in the Oval Office.

Mnuchin said in a January 2018 interview that “we haven’t made any decision as to whether we’ll change the bill, or won’t change the bill,” and a Treasury Department spokesperson told CNN this year that Mnuchin’s position remained the same.

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