This post has been updated.
Former Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) is not happy about former President Andrew Jackson being bumped from the front of the $20 bill.
Webb joined conservatives in blasting the Treasury Department’s decision to bump Jackson to the back of the bill in order to put legendary abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the front. He wrote Sunday in a Washington Post op-ed that the decision was “an indication of how far political correctness has invaded our educational system and skewed our national consciousness.”
“This dismissive characterization of one of our great presidents is not occurring in a vacuum,” he wrote. “Any white person whose ancestral relations trace to the American South now risks being characterized as having roots based on bigotry and undeserved privilege. Meanwhile, race relations are at their worst point in decades.”
Webb characterized the debate over Jackson’s presidency as “emotional” and lacking a basis in historical fact. He went on to lament what he called the myth of “universal white privilege” tarnishing the former President’s legacy.
“The myth of universal white privilege and universal disadvantage among racial minorities has become a mantra,” Webb argued. “Even though white and minority cultures alike vary greatly in their ethnic and geographic origins, in their experiences in the United States and in their educational and financial well-being.”
The failed 2016 Democratic presidential candidate touted “Old Hickory’s” moral and political successes, pointing out that George Washington and other former Presidents also owned slaves. Though Webb acknowledged Jackson’s involvement in the events that led to the Trail of Tears, he argued that the former President was not genocidal because he raised an orphaned Native American baby as his son.
Webb argued that school children ought to learn about Jackson’s accomplishments, including preventing the secession of South Carolina. He wrote that Americans should celebrate Tubman’s accomplishments, too, although he didn’t specify how.
“By any standard we should respect both Jackson’s and Tubman’s contributions,” Webb wrote. “And our national leaders should put aside their deliberate divisiveness and encourage that we do so.”