Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is urging the federal government to reverse its decision to delay the distribution of a new $20 bill featuring Harriet Tubman, arguing it’s high time the famed abolitionist receive the honor.
In a letter sent to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday, Hogan said he was “incredibly disappointed” by the department’s May announcement that it would hold off on the bill’s 2020 release, leaving the job to the next administration in 2028.
“Much of our progress as a nation ― most notably in the struggle for freedom and equal rights ― can be attributed to the sacrifices of this American hero,” Hogan said of Tubman, whose portrait was slated to replace that of former President Andrew Jackson, a slaveholder.
The plan to change the bill and relocate Jackson’s face to the back was formed under the Obama administration.
“Harriet Tubman’s countless contributions to our nation transcend race, gender, nationality, and religion,” the governor continued. “She dedicated her life in selfless service to others and to the cause of freedom. Her unbelievable acts of heroism, courage, and sacrifice have more than earned her rightful place among our nation’s most pivotal leaders.”
Attempting to justify his decision, Mnuchin said counterfeiting concerns are the main reason for redesigning the $20 bill, and it would not be ready until 2028. He added that the $10 bill and the $50 bill will come out with new features beforehand.
In 2016, then-candidate Trump knocked the Tubman initiative as “pure political correctness,” proposing the $20 bill be left alone.
“Well, Andrew Jackson had a great history, and I think it’s very rough when you take somebody off the bill,” he said on NBC’s “Today” show. “I think Harriet Tubman is fantastic, but I would love to leave Andrew Jackson or see if we can maybe come up with another denomination.”
Furthermore, Trump has expressed admiration for Jackson, honoring his birthday in 2017 during a speech in which he called him “very great,” praised his accomplishments and suggested he and the seventh president share similarities.
Hogan’s letter comes less than two weeks after the Republican announced that he would not mount a primary challenge to President Donald Trump in 2020. Instead, he will focus on his gubernatorial role and his new responsibilities as the chair of the National Governors Association, a position he will take up in July.