A preliminary design for the new $20 bill, featuring Harriet Tubman, has been released by The New York Times on Friday. A basic depiction of the famous abolitionist and supporter of women’s suffrage was leaked after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin recently announced that the circulation of the new note would be postponed until 2026, or even as late as 2028, instead of the original planned release in 2020—the 100-year anniversary of the 19th Amendment, in which women were given the right to vote.
Here’s an early design of the Harriet Tubman $20 bill created by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Steven Mnuchin said designs would be delayed until 2026 and a future Treasury secretary will decide who’s on the face of the note. https://t.co/brRwxuu8F1 pic.twitter.com/o0ffu53tF2
— Alan Rappeport (@arappeport) June 14, 2019
Although Mnuchin has stated that the bill’s delay was purely a result of necessary security measures to prevent counterfeiting, many have speculated that the decision to wait on the new $20 was in response to political pressure from the Trump Administration. When former Treasury Secretary under President Obama, Jack Lew, first announced that Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the commonly used note, Trump responded that the choice was a result of “pure political correctness.” Jackson, Trump’s favorite president (besides himself, of course), is well-known for his support of slavery and his supervision of the forced removal of Indigenous peoples from their lands in the “Trail of Tears.” Trump has also suggested the Tubman’s picture instead be put on the $2 bill, with comparatively rare circulation.
Whether or not Mnuchin is being honest about the intentions behind the redesign’s postponement, the delay has left a lot of people feeling rightfully angry and disappointed. Now with an idea of what the future bill will look like, that frustration will surely intensify, particularly with the knowledge that the preliminary representation of Tubman that has been released was finished three years ago in 2016. In response to the stalled recreation of the bill, a Boston Church has been stamping all $20 notes that end up in their offering trays with the face of Harriet Tubman. Similarly, Governor Hogan of Maryland has called on President Trump to reconsider the delay, while Representative Elijah Cummings, who has championed the change, applauded Hogan for this effort and has pushed the White House to do the same.
The likely appeasal of President Man-Child adds Mnunchin to a long list of self-described independent, neutral, and even anti-Trump political office holders who just can’t seem to stand up to the country’s most famous fool, no matter how many times he proves himself to not just be an embarassment to our country, but an actual threat to our democracy. Despite Mnunchin’s weak ways, at least we can appreciate how strong and stoic Harriet Tubman looks on the potential $20 bill. I don’t even use cash (Gen Z culture, sorry), but when Tubman is finally put on the note, I will be sure to drain my measly bank account for twenties, to appreciate and honor everything she’s done, and sacrificed for others. While Treasury Secretary Mnuchin (more like, thanks for M’nothing), hasn’t proved himself tenacious enough to tell Trump no, and give Tubman the recognition she deserves, I am sure that Harriet herself would not bat an eye while staring Trump down.
Top photo via Wikimedia Commons / Harvey B. Lindsley
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