The New York Times on Friday revealed a design of a new $20 bill adorned with former slave and abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Mnuchin drew scorn last month when he said the design was delayed for six years due to “technical reasons.” But the Times was able to get a copy of the design—which Mnuchin had said couldn’t be done—directly from a former Treasury official. The design, the paper reported, had actually been started during the Obama administration with no apparent technical difficulty.
“BEP was never going to unveil a note design in 2020,” BEP Director Len Olijar said in a statement disputing the Times’ report. “The illustration published by the New York Times was a copy of an old Series note with the signatures of former officials, with a different image imposed on it. It is not a new $20 note, as incorrectly stated by the New York Times, in any way, shape or form. The facsimile contained no security features or offset printing included on currency notes. There is nothing about that illustration that even begins to meet technical requirements for the next family of notes.”
Tubman would be the first African American to adorn U.S. currency and the delay drew disappointment and speculation that perhaps the Trump administration did not want to replace President Andrew Jackson on the popular note. The Times reports officials past and present said Mnuchin opted for the delay out of fear President Trump would cancel the new Tubman bill outright and cause more controversy.