By Ryan Velez
The Huffington Post reports that Secretary of The Treasury Steven Mnuchin declined to offer support to the idea of replacing Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, something that had originally been announced at the tail end of the Obama administration along with other changes to currency offering a more balanced view of American history.
“Ultimately, we’ll be looking at this issue,” Mnuchin said during an interview on CNBC. “It’s not something that I’m focused on at the moment.” Instead, Mnuchin said that he and the Treasury Department, on the whole, were most concerned with the counterfeiting of U.S. currency, adding that any changes to current currency would mostly be dependent on security issues. He also passed over a question regarding cultural significance of those on U.S. notes.
“This is something we’ll consider,” he said. “Right now we have a lot more important issues to focus on.” As a reminder, in April of last year, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced Tubman’s place on the new $20 bill, with an image of Jackson and the White House on the back of the bill. Designs of the bill and a change to the $10 bill showcasing women’s right to vote were planned to be revealed in 2020.
Donald Trump had shown opposition to the change on the campaign trail, calling the campaign to replace Jackson “pure political correctness.” “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,” he said.
In response to his comment, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) tweeted that Mnuchin should “commit to this popular effort that has bipartisan support.” A similar sentiment was shared by Women on 20s, the nonprofit campaign leading the push to put a woman on the $20 by 2020.
“Security is mostly embodied in the advanced innovations in paper and ink that our money is printed on, not in the faces we choose to honor,” said Barbara Ortiz Howard, the group’s founder. “Including women on our currency can enhance our standing as a nation by bringing us together instead of tearing us apart.”
When pressed on the comments, a spokesperson for the Treasury Department did not offer further elaboration on the comments, saying that any updated $20 bill would not be in circulation until 2026 at the earliest.