Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is trying to blame bureaucracy for the delay in placing civil rights activist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. But her great-great-grandniece Ernestine Wyatt isn’t impressed with his excuses.
At a Wednesday hearing before the House Financial Services Committee, Mnuchin confirmed that the already long-awaited replacement of Andrew Jackson won’t happen until 2028. He claimed “counterfeiting issues” caused the setback, but Wyatt isn’t buying this, TheWrap reports.
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In an interview with CNN Newsroom’s Brooke Baldwin, asked Wyatt to comment on Mnuchin’s remarks that the $20 bill honoring her great-great-grandmother won’t be issued until well after Trump leaves office, Mediaite reports.
“Do you think Secretary Mnuchin’s explanation for this delay, waiting until 2028 now, do you think that is legit?” Baldwin asked.
“No,” Wyatt said. “I think it’s, to me it smacks of racist rhetoric. That’s what it smacks of.”
Baldwin wanted to know why.
“I think it’s just a nice way of trying to say we don’t want this, we’re not going to have this, under any circumstances will we have this,” Wyatt said. “It’s just another delay and a diversion for what’s going on.”
The redesign was announced all the way back in 2015, so Mnuchin has “had time for this to happen,” she noted.
“In the very beginning, he said that that was not his priority,” Wyatt said. “So now it comes out now when all the other things that are happening right now, and I’m wondering why is that happening right now at this time.”
“So I just think it is a diversion,” she said, adding “it smacks of racism.”
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) wasn’t having it either and she let a squirming Mnuchin know just exactly that during the hearing.
“I’m just wondering if you could explain that to me, because after an exhaustive community process where people who organized for quite some time, and you said you do share my sentiments and opinion that our currency should be more reflective of the contributions and the diversity of those contributions, why the delay?” Pressley asked Mnuchin, who promptly objected.
“No, I didn’t say that the currency should be reflective …” Mnuchin said.
“Well you said imagery …” she pressed on.
Flustered, Mnuchin went on:
“I said imagery, not referring to currency, referring to lots of things.”
This go-around went on for a while until Pressley, fed up with Mnuchin’s non-answers, finally asked him if the Treasury is even going to do the redesign that was planned by Mnuchin’s predecessor.
His response? Another non-answer of course.
“Well that is correct,” Mnuchin said. “I have not made a decision to execute on a redesign, or haven’t made a decision. But yes, I haven’t made a decision.”
Harriet Tubman exemplified bravery and freed hundreds of slaves. She’s a role model that all of us should admire. Andrew Jackson was a racist who persecuted thousands of native Americans by forcing their relocation as part of the infamous “Trail of Tears.” He is a symbol of everything that is wrong in America today (otherwise known as the Trump administration.)
Pressley’s questions were quick and to the point. You can watch Mnuchin try to bat them away in the video below, while the video following that is Wyatt’s interview with Baldwin.
"It smacks of racist rhetoric … it's just a nice way of trying to say 'we don't want this, we're not going to have this.'"
Ernestine Wyatt, a distant niece of Harriet Tubman, responds to the delay in putting the Underground Railroad hero on the $20 bill.https://t.co/K7Mh7ZKqt5 pic.twitter.com/QUHrm9iiKr
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) May 23, 2019
Featured image courtesy of the video above