Opinions on the Harriet Tubman $20 bill seem to be running generally positive, but there are some objections, beginning with a prominent self-professed fan of the portrait currently adorning the twenty, Donald Trump.
“Andrew Jackson had a great history and I think it’s very rough when you take somebody off the bill,” said Trump on Thursday morning’s Today Show. “I think it’s pure political correctness. Been on the bill for many, many years and really represented somebody that was very important to this country.”
It should be noted that under the proposed Treasury redesign, Jackson will still be on the back of the bill, which would give Jackson fans a fifty-fifty chance of seeing him each time they pluck a twenty from their wallets.
“The backs of the $5 and $10 bills also will be redesigned over time to tell the story of civil rights for women and African-Americans, a marked departure from the current lineup of presidents and founding fathers—unchanged since 1928,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
“I think Harriet Tubman is fantastic,” Trump continued. “I would love to leave Andrew Jackson and see if we can maybe come up with another denomination. Maybe we do the $2 or we do another bill.”
Former presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, now a supporter of Donald Trump, expressed similar sentiments in a Fox Business interview.
“Well, I think Andrew Jackson was a tremendous secretary — I mean a tremendous president,” said Carson. “Andrew Jackson was the last president who actually balanced the federal budget, where we had no national debt.”
“I love Harriet Tubman,” Carson continued. “I love what she did, but we can find another way to honor her. Maybe a $2 bill.”
Fox News host Greta van Susteren said the Obama Administration was acting “stupid for no reason” by changing the $20, although, like Trump, she spoke well of Harriet Tubman.
“You all know I’m a feminist, love to see women acknowledged for the great things they do to contribute to our nation, and Harriet Tubman did, and she deserves it,” said Van Susteren.
She was convinced the change on the twenty would “divide” and “stir up the country,” and suggested a better idea would be to create a new $25 bill with Tubman’s portrait on it.
“That’s the smart and easy thing to do. But no, some people don’t think [so] and would gratuitously stir up conflict in the nation. That is so awful, and yes, dumb,” van Susteren declared.
A remarkable amount of resistance to the Tubman Twenty comes from people on the left. Rapper Azealia Banks was apoplectic about what she saw as an attempt to “patronize” Tubman.
“Don’t fall for the s**t,” Banks railed on Twitter. “It’s patronizing, and a Nobel black woman like Harriet would be deeply offended were she still Alive.”
“So, they’re gonna put Harriet Tubman on the 20$ bill as another little trinket to keep blacks satisfied,” Banks fumed in another Tweet. “But won’t repay us for slavery.”
Writing at the PowerLine blog, Steven Hayward noticed some left-wingers furious that Tubman was being appropriated as a symbol of capitalism, by putting her on the currency.
“By escaping slavery and helping many others do the same, Tubman became historic for essentially stealing ‘property,'” thundered one such screed. “Her legacy is rooted in resisting the foundation of American capitalism. Tubman didn’t respect America’s economic system, so making her a symbol of it would be insulting.”
“I don’t want to see Tubman commodified with a price, as she once was as a slave,” ran another such objection. “I don’t need to see hers as the face of the US treasury, being passed in transactions to underpaid retail workers and appearing in print ads for transnational banks.”
There might be more reactions from the public, pro and con, once more of them figure out who Harriet Tubman is. “Who is Harriet Tubman?” became the top searched question on Google after the Treasury announcement was made.
There might also be more objections from the left, if they come to see the Tubman Twenty as humorist David Burge (aka Iowahawk) does:
Breaking: Treasury throws founder of the Democratic Party off $20 bill, replaces with gun-toting Republican pic.twitter.com/G9dVXpTaXv
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) April 20, 2016