If you’ve been reading the news since Thursday, it appears Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin declared war on the memory of Harriet Tubman by saying replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20 was not a top priority for the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
While giving an interview with CNBC, Mnuchin was asked about the plan to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill instead of Andrew Jackson. In response to the question, Mnuchin said, “Ultimately, we’ll be looking at the issue,” but, “It’s not something that I’m focused on at the moment.”
Mnuchin went on to explain that the “number one reason” why the currency is changing is to prevent counterfeiting. He called the move “something we’ll consider,” but added, “right now, we have a lot more important issues to focus on."
Even though Mnuchin never said the Trump administration was considering scrapping the plan to put Tubman on the bill, liberal organizations and the media immediately ran with the narrative that Mnuchin threatened Tubman’s future.
CNBC’s own reporting on the story ran with the headline, “Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin just put Harriet Tubman's role on the $20 bill in question” and included tweets attacking Mnuchin for allegedly disrespecting Tubman. USA Today repeated, “Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin just put Harriet Tubman's role on $20 bill in question.” The Hill claimed Mnuchin said, “Mnuchin: I may scrap plan to put Harriet Tubman on $20 bill” and “Mnuchin: Treasury could scrap plans to replace Jackson on $20 bill.”
The New York Post used the same language, alleging, “Mnuchin may scrap plans for Harriet Tubman on $20 bill.” The New York Times’ headline asserted, “Mnuchin Doesn’t Endorse Placing Harriet Tubman on the New $20 Bill.”
Not to be outdone, NARAL claimed Mnuchin’s remarks mean the Trump administration “is so threatened by the existence of women & people of color, they can't even acknowledge Harriet Tubman on the $20.”
The Trump administration is so threatened by the existence of women & people of color, they can't even acknowledge Harriet Tubman on the $20 https://t.co/JEQHhKSTFo— NARAL (@NARAL) August 31, 2017
Mnuchin’s remarks appeared to spark outrage among one journalist, who then posted photos of him defacing $20 bills:
So Mnuchin won't commit to Harriet Tubman on the $20. I'm marking everything that comes out of an ATM for a month in his honor. pic.twitter.com/2WNMbvYmGf— David Simon (@AoDespair) August 31, 2017
CNN political commentator Symone Sanders, the former national press secretary for Bernie Sanders, said Trump was “COMING FOR HARRIET YALL!!!”
THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IS COMING FOR HARRIET YALL!!! https://t.co/PPJwcDbVlG— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) August 31, 2017
Even Chelsea Clinton said Mnuchin needs to read up on Tubman:
By the way, the move to put Tubman on the $20 bill would not be until 2020 and the currency would not be in circulation until 2026.
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