Thursday, October 4, 2018 at 6:37 AM

Re $20 Bill: Trump Sides with White Slave Owner Over Black Abolitionist… Duh

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

As President Trump boasted of his administration’s accomplishments at a campaign rally Monday in Johnson City, Tenn., he also touted something he hasn’t done: replace Andrew Jackson’s portrait on the $20 bill with a likeness of [Harriet]Tubman, the African-American icon who ran the Underground Railroad that helped Southern slaves escape to freedom in the North.

‘Andrew Jackson, who continues to be on the $20 bill, you know that,’ Trump said. ‘I’m a big Andrew Jackson fan.’

(Yahoo! News, October 1, 2018)

Of course, nobody should be surprised that Trump opposes having a black woman replace a white man on any dollar bill. He is, after all, the unapologetic racist who called for the execution of the Central Park Five, championed birther claims against Barack Obama, and supported the white nationalists from Charlottesville.

More on point, there’s this (and please focus on the message not the messenger):

In Unhinged, Manigault Newman describes the deliberation over a new figure on the twenty-dollar bill. She wrote that Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin told her, ‘it’s not something I’m focused on at the moment.

Manigault Newman wrote that she then pushed the decision to Trump, who reportedly replied, ‘You want me to put that face on the twenty-dollar bill?’

(Business Insider, August 14, 2018)

But I digress …

The point is that, just a few years ago, the whole country was hailing the prospect of replacing Jackson with Tubman. Here in part is how I hailed it in “US Putting Woman on Wrong Dollar Bill,” June 22, 2015.


Truth be told, paper currency is falling into such desuetude, the media hype surrounding this belated and patently misguided honor seems contrived. It’s rather like hailing the appointment of a Native American as Postmaster General of the United States Postal Service; that is, now that e-mails and instant messaging are all the rage.

All the same, I feel I owe you my two cents’ worth. …

It’s unfair for the Treasury to honor Harriet Tubman (or any other woman) by dishonoring Alexander Hamilton. And it hardly matters if she joins or replaces him. Here are just three of many reasons why:

  1. Hamilton never owned slaves.
  2. He was the first Treasury secretary of the United States.
  3. Most relevant, he did more than any other American to create the US central banking system – complete with founding the Bank of New York in 1784, which provided a cash-strapped US government its first loan just five years later. …

Instead, as the ‘Women on 20s’ campaign proposes, it’s fairer to honor Tubman by dishonoring Andrew Jackson, whose face now graces the $20 bill. Here are just three of many reasons why:

  1. Jackson owned slaves. He also nearly wiped out Native Americans in the Southeastern United States, highlighted by forcing thousands of Cherokees on the ‘Trail of Tears’ – which makes the Bataan Death March look like a Sunday stroll – as the White man’s solution to their ‘Indian problem’.
  2. He pioneered the patronage system that seeded corruption in US politics.
  3. Most relevant, he tried more than any other American to destroy the US central banking system – complete with attempts to discard paper currency in favor of coins as the only legal tender. …

Clearly, as between these two founding fathers, Jackson is more deserving to be dishonored in this fashion. Not to mention the sexist slight inherent in putting a woman on Hamilton’s $10 bill; after all, it has only half the circulation (or common use) of Jackson’s $20 bill.


That said, elections have consequences. This is just the latest in a litany of Obama-hating, norm-busting ways Trump is throwing this truism into dismaying relief. And trust me, Trump knows full well that offering to put Tubman on the proverbial “phony $2 bill” only compounds his insult.

But, by the same token, Obama had eight years to make this historic change. Which compels me to wonder why, if it’s such a good idea, he didn’t make it.

Related commentaries:
woman on wrong dollar bill

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