Washington Post columnist slammed for claiming 'many conservatives' offended by Harriet Tubman on $20 bill
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A liberal Washington Post columnist was called out Monday for claiming “many conservatives” would object to Harriet Tubman gracing the $20 bill but giving no examples.
The Biden administration has announced plans to speed up a redesign of the $20 bill to feature Tubman, the abolitionist and former slave who led other slaves to freedom on the “Underground Railroad.” She would replace former President Andrew Jackson on the front of the bill.
“Many conservatives will find the new Tubman bill distressing, even if they could barely tell you the first thing about Jackson,” columnist Paul Waldman wrote for the liberal “Plum Line” blog. “Does that make them racist? The real answer is, it doesn’t matter. What’s in individual hearts is not really important.”
Waldman did not cite any individuals in his claim, going on to write that “a good portion of the people who voted for [Donald] Trump when he promised to ‘Make America Great Again’ did so because he was appealing to their sense of loss, the idea that America’s present is different from the past of their childhoods, a past to which they wanted to return. It was about race, and language, and resistance to change, and yes, even about economic anxiety.”
Waldman came under fire for smearing conservatives with his broad language.
“Normally, columnists like to rely on the Rule of Three in making these kinds of blanket condemnations, finding three examples that fit the allegation and then assigning blame for them to entire classes of people. Waldman, however, doesn’t even bother to find one,” HotAir columnist Ed Morrissey wrote.
“As for replacing Jackson with Tubman, it’s possible that a few people would oppose it, but too few to be worth consideration. The only significant debate among conservatives about the Tubman $20 is which portrait should be used,” he added, noting some conservatives favor an image of Tubman holding a pistol rather than a typical headshot.
Others asked for concrete examples of figures on the right who opposed honoring Tubman.
“Not sure I personally know anyone of any political persuasion who takes issue with Tubman on the $20,” Fox News contributor Joe Concha tweeted.
National Review’s Jim Geraghty wrote in 2016, “Perhaps some of the voices calling for Tubman on the $20 just wanted any prominent African-American woman to replace one of the white males on our currency. If it was political correctness that drove this decision, who cares? The Obama administration has inadvertently given Tubman fans of all political stripes an opportunity to tell the story of a deeply-religious, gun-toting Republican who fought for freedom in defiance of the laws of a government that refused to recognize her rights.”
The Second Amendment foundation also expressed enthusiasm in 2016 for the idea of a gun-toting Tubman on the nation’s currency.
“Here’s a courageous woman, carrying a handgun in Maryland, helping escaped slaves to freedom, and a devoutly religious person,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Who better to appear on U.S. currency?”
Waldman did not respond to a request for comment on Fox News.
One Republican who wasn’t on board at the time: then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, who said Jackson should stay put but added Tubman should be honored in another fashion, perhaps on the $2 bill.
“I think Harriet Tubman is fantastic. I would love to leave Andrew Jackson and see if we can come up with another denomination. Maybe we do the $2 bill or another bill. I don’t like seeing it,” Trump said, according to the New York Post.
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Waldman also claimed Trump had “halted” the project to redesign the bill, but Obama-era officials told the Washington Post in 2019 that was not true. Rather, then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had followed a timeline set by his predecessor, and it was always highly unlikely the redesign could be released by 2020.
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