The U.S. Treasury is giving up plans to introduce a new $20 bill with the picture of escaped slave turned abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
The redesigned bill was to have entered circulation next year, but now will be put off until 2028. It is also unclear whether Tubman will still be on the new bill when it is finally rolled out.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin gave no clear reasons for the postponement Wednesday other than saying the bill was to have been redesigned “for counterfeiting issues.”
He said the “imagery feature” (who will appear on the bill) will not be a matter until long after he and U.S. President Donald Trump are out of office.
The $20 bill currently features a picture of 19th century U.S. President Andrew Jackson. Jackson owned slaves and forced Native Americans out of their ancestral lands in the southeastern U.S. leading to the deaths of thousands of Indians. The episode has been called The Trail of Tears.
The move to replace Jackson, preferably with a historically important woman, was announced during the Obama administration.
Tubman was chosen from an online poll of Americans.
President Trump is said to be an admirer of Andrew Jackson — not because of Jackson’s racism — but because Trump regards him as a populist and anti-establishment.
Trump called replacing Jackson with Tubman “pure political correctness” and proposed putting Tubman on the $2 bill, which is rarely printed.
Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery in Maryland as a young woman and returned to the southern U.S. to help other slaves escape and to work as a union government spy during the Civil War.
She was thought to be in her early 90s when she died in 1913.