President Barack Obama, the first black president in United States history, finalized plans during his presidency to replace President Andrew Jackson on the twenty dollar bill with abolitionist, humanitarian, spy and general bad ass Harriet Tubman. When the plans were announced in 201, the Treasury Department emphasized that they were primarily geared toward preventing counterfeiting, as is the typical reasoning for bill design changes.
On Thursday, however, Treasury secretary Steve Mnunchin announced that the Treasury Department may forego the design change under the current administration.
“It’s not something that I’m focused on at the moment,” the secretary said Thursday. “
The changes announced in April of last year included changes to the $5 and $10 bills as well. Originally the plans for the $20 were to replace Jackson with an image of the White House.
The changes planned for the $10 bill included images of suffragists and those for the $5 included images of notable civil rights event which took place at the Lincoln Memorial.
Mnunchin’s statement is already meeting with backlash, especially in light of the recent clashes between White Supremacists and counter-protesters across the country and Donald Trump’s refusal to overtly denounce White Supremacy and the violence those groups enacted. In various statements, Trump bemoaned what he called changes to history and the removal of “beautiful statues” of Confederate and Slavery-defending people. If this decision by Mnunchin’s Treasury Department is a mere coincidence, it is an unfortunate one. It seems, once again, to be a fight by this administration and its supporters to glorify the most racist and oppressive parts of United States’ history and decry the glorification of people of color, women, or any other oppressed minority.
At the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, White Supremacists chanted anti-semitic phrases, including German Nazi translated phrases, as well as homophobic, racist and sexist phrases.
One veteran protester, Carl Dix, stated that he believed the White Supremacists in Charlottesville and currently active throughout the country are more empowered than he has ever seen them because they have a “friend in the White House,” referring to President Trump.
Mnunchin, who is Jewish, has not commented publicly on Trump’s refusal to denounce Nazzism and the actions of White Supremacists in Charlottesville and since. Mnunchin’s wife Louise Linton contributed her own controversy to the scandal-laden administration earlier in the month with a condescending Instagram response to someone criticizing her for seeming to view tax-payer funded government trips on an Air Force jet as a personal day trip.