January 25, 2021 3:20 pm
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President Biden’s aides are working to “speed up” putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

The plan to replace President Andrew Jackson with the Underground Railroad icon stalled under former President Donald Trump, who is an admirer of Jackson.

“The Treasury Department is taking steps to resume efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the front of the new $20 notes,” Psaki said at a press briefing.

“It’s important that our notes, our money … reflect the history and diversity of our country, and Harriet Tubman’s image gracing the new $20 note would certainly reflect that,” she said.

“So we’re exploring ways to speed up that effort.”

Tubman was supposed to appear on the bill beginning in 2020, under plans announced in 2016 during President Barack Obama’s final year in office.

Capitol Hill staff member places signs before a news conference by Steny Hoyer (D-MD) on Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's decision to then-indefinitely delay putting famous abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the new $20 bill on June 27, 2019.
Former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin delayed putting famous abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the new $20 bill.
REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

Then-Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in 2019 that Tubman would not be added to bills until 2028.

Psaki, an Obama White House alum, told reporters Monday, “I was here when we announced that and it was very exciting and hasn’t moved forward yet which we would have been surprised to learn at the time.”

Harriet Tubman seen sometime between 1860 and 1875.
Harriet Tubman seen sometime between 1860 and 1875.
H.B. Lindsley/Library of Congress via AP

Trump called the plan “pure political correctness” and suggested in 2016 that Tubman appear instead on $2 bills, which are rarely printed or used.

The tug of war over Jackson’s legacy extends to Oval Office decorations. Trump placed a portrait of the 19th-century populist, who was also a slaveholder, near the Resolute Desk. Biden replaced it with a painting of Benjamin Franklin.

A design for Harriet Tubman's portrayal on a $20 bill.
A design for Harriet Tubman’s portrayal on a $20 bill.
Courtesy of womenon20s.org

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