Treasury Secretary Jack Lew created a stir when he announced Wednesday that Harriet Tubman is replacing Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 note.
The Washington Post reported a year ago about a movement to remove Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, from U.S. currency. Women on $20s had been lobbying the Treasury Department to replace Jackson with a “female American hero.” The organization promoted a list of replacements that included Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Rosa Parks.
Tubman was a runaway slave who led hundreds of others to freedom as a conductor of the Underground Railroad. She was also a Union spy in the Civil War and a supporter of a woman’s right to vote.
They say Jackson’s record doesn’t measure up to Tubman’s. He owned about 150 slaves, who worked his cotton plantation, and fiercely defended slavery. He’s also remembered for his policy of forced migration, relocating thousands of Native Americans in what became known as the Trail of Tears.
Here’s how a few high-profile Republicans responded to Lew’s decision:
GOP Presidential Front-Runner Donald Trump
On Thursday, he told the 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.” He added that Jackson “had a history of tremendous success for the country.”
Former GOP Presidential Candidate Ben Carson
Ben Carson had a similar reaction to Trump. He told Fox Business that he’s not anti-Tubman: “I love Harriet Tubman. I love what she did, but we can find another way to honor her. Maybe a $2 bill.”
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)
ABC News reported that Alexander called it “unnecessary to diminish Jackson,” a fellow Tennessean, to “honor Tubman.” He rejected the reading of American history that pits the two against each other. He said they are both “heroes.”
What’s your take?