Steven Mnuchin says Harriet Tubman won't be on the $20 bill next year after all

Steve Mnuchin.
(Image credit: Mark Wilson / Getty Images )

Harriet Tubman's image will not be coming to a $20 dollar bill near you in 2020, as promised.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin revealed on on Wednesday that the bill's design was being delayed until 2028 to prevent counterfeiting issues, which he says is his primary duty at present. While he will focus on the security feature redesign of the bill, the imagery will likely be handled by a successor. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) grilled Mnuchin during his testimony on the international financial system before the House Financial Services Committee.

See more

Mnuchin said he agreed with Pressley that America's diversity should be celebrated more frequently in the country's "imagery," but not necessarily currency, arguing that he cannot separate his professional duties from his personal opinions when it comes to this particular matter.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Mnuchin's boss, President Trump, said before he was elected to the office in 2016 that putting Tubman's image on the $20 dollar bill was "pure political correctness" and suggested instead her likeness be used for the rare $2 bill instead. It's worth noting that if Tubman does eventually make it on to the $20 dollar bill, she would be replacing one of Trump's favorite commanders-in-chief, former President Andrew Jackson, who is known for forcibly relocating Native Americans during his tenure.

Tubman, an African-American abolitionist and political activist who helped numerous enslaved people escape along the underground railway, was chosen for the bill by the Treasury Department under the Obama administration in 2016 after a lengthy process, which considered public opinion. Its release was scheduled to coincide with the centennial of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.