The U.S. Treasury inspector general says he will look into why the Trump administration decided to scrap plans to put escaped slave turned abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the move last month, saying the change is because of “counterfeiting issues.”
But Democratic Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer said he is not satisfied with Mnuchin’s vague explanation, saying it lacked credibility.
He asked the Treasury’s watchdog to investigate the circumstances “including any involvement by the White House.”
“There are no women, there are no people of color on our paper currency today even though they make up a significant majority of our population,” Schumer said.
The redesigned bill was to have entered circulation next year, but Mnuchin said it 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.
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 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.