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Trump Calls Harriet Tubman $20 ‘Pure Political Correctness,’ Suggests Separate But Unequal Bill

During an NBC News “town hall” event Thursday morning, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump weighed in on the new twenty dollar bill that will feature heroic abolitionist Harriet Tubman, replacing our 7th President Andrew Jackson. Co-host Matt Lauer noted that “You have so often during this campaign railed against political correctness,” and asked Trump “Do you see this as a move that is all about political correctness, or is this a move that is simply way overdue?”

While Trump said he thinks Harriet Tubman “is fantastic,” he lamented the removal of President Jackson, repeatedly citing his “tremendous history,” and suggested “coming up with another denomination” that actually isn’t new at all:

I think Harriet Tubman is fantastic. I’d love to leave Andrew Jackson, and see if we can maybe come up with another denomination. Maybe the $2 bill or another bill. I don’t like seeing it. Yes, I think it’s pure political correctness. Been on the bill for many, many years. and really represented somebody that’s really was very important to this country. I would love to see another denomination, and that could take place, I think it would be more appropriate.

Trump’s answer couldn’t have been more perfect for his resentful base if he had suggested putting Tubman on the $⅗ bill, but I’m almost more disturbed by the leading way Matt Lauer asked the question, and for that matter, failed to follow up. The question assumes, without qualification, the legitimacy of the “political correctness” argument, when Lauer could just as easily asked Trump what he thinks, and let him volunteer the response.

In either case, Lauer fails to explain, or to ask Trump to explain, what it is about the move that smacks of “political correctness,” why Harriet Tubman is undeserving of the honor, and what sensibility it is intended to appease. He also fails to ask which of Andrew Jackson’s “tremendous successes” Trump admires most. If they were pressed for time, he could have waited, but I doubt that would have been a very long answer.

Instead, Lauer went for the cheap soundbite, and in the process, succeeded in uncritically promoting a poisonous narrative. Heckuva job.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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