Dems urge Trump administration to stick with Harriet Tubman $20 bill

Two Maryland Democrats urged Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to follow through on a plan to feature abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill after the administration appeared to cast doubt on that idea Thursday.

"We will be looking at this issue. It's not something that I'm focused on at the moment," Mnuchin said in a CNBC interview when asked if he supports the plan, announced by the Obama administration, to redesign the $20 bill with an image of Tubman in place of Andrew Jackson.

"People have been on the bills for a long period of time. And this is something we will consider," Mnuchin said. "Right now, we've got a lot more important issues to focus on."

Jacob J. Lew, Mnuchin's predecessor, announced last year that Tubman would be featured on a new $20 bill to be unveiled in 2020, the 100th anniversary of the year women received the right to vote. At the time, then candidate Trump described the announcement as "pure political correctness."

Trump has repeatedly praised Jackson, who was the president from 1829 to 1837.

Tubman, who would be the first African American pictured on the face of U.S. paper currency, was born to slaves in Dorchester County. She made about 13 missions to rescue dozens of slaves, using a network of safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.

During the Civil War, she was also a spy and a nurse for the Union army.

Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, both Maryland Democrats, said they were concerned when Mnuchin refused to commit to the redesign in the interview.

"Tubman is fully deserving of this honor," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Mnuchin. "Those we honor on currency make a statement about our nation and our values.”

john.fritze@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jfritze

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