New York Daily NewsAt the conclusion of a long public process, President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew conceived of an elegant plan: Remove Andrew Jackson from the front of an American currency note and replace him with Harriet Tubman, the hero who escaped from slavery and went on to run undercover missions to the South, escorting more than 300 slaves to freedom.
The visage of a woman would for the first time grace a U.S. bill, and would do so on the $20 in 2020, the 200th anniversary of Tubman’s birth (there’s some dispute about the exact year) and the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Neat, right?
Nor would Jackson, who’s been on the bill since 1928 — pretty good run; Grover Cleveland was only on it for 14 years — be spurned; he’d get a spot on the back.
Enter Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
Recall: Jackson, a man with both great strengths and huge flaws, had a 1,000-acre plantation that ran on the labor of about 150 slaves. Recall too that as president, he ordered the slaughter of thousands of Native Americans.
Trump’s a big admirer. And he is, well, not in love with Tubman. “You want me to put that face on the $20 bill?” he reportedly asked an aide once. Another time, he called the idea of a switcheroo “pure political correctness.”
So Mnuchin, who has slow-walked the Tubman plans from day one, Wednesday made it official: The redesign process is on hold, and no new imagery will be unveiled until 2026 soonest. When Trump will be long gone.
This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private, except one.