Image: Getty

When Steven Mnuchin announced that the redesigned $20 featuring Harriet Tubman would be delayed until 2028, he claimed the setback was beyond his control—a buffer to work out anti-counterfeiting measures. But a new report from the New York Times calls bullshit, showing that the Treasury had already hammered out a preliminary design as early as 2016.

The Times obtained a preliminary design the Treasury had done before Trump ever entered the Oval Office:

In fact, work on the new $20 note began before Mr. Trump took office, and the basic design already on paper most likely could have satisfied the goal of unveiling a note bearing Tubman’s likeness on next year’s centennial of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. An image of a new $20 bill, produced by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and obtained by The New York Times from a former Treasury Department official, depicts Tubman in a dark coat with a wide collar and a white scarf.

In fact, a source told the Times the redesign got even further along:

A current employee of the bureau, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, personally viewed a metal engraving plate and a digital image of a Tubman $20 bill while it was being reviewed by engravers and Secret Service officials as recently as May 2018. This person said that the design appeared to be far along in the process.

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Of course, Mnuchin says it’s purely technical details delaying the rollout a full eight years; “Let me assure you, this speculation that we’ve slowed down the process is just not the case,” he recently said. But the Times’ sources say the delay was really a workaround to avoid our nation’s toxic, emotionally manipulative Bad Dad making things an even bigger mess: “Current and former department officials say Mr. Mnuchin chose the delay to avoid the possibility that Mr. Trump would cancel the plan outright and create even more controversy.”

They’re not putting a heroic black liberator on the money on Trump’s watch—not if he can help it.