Dolly Parton Declined Medal of Freedom From Trump. Twice

She's not sure about accepting one from Biden
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2021 7:42 PM CST
Dolly Parton Turned Down Medal From Trump. Twice
Dolly Parton arrives at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

Dolly Parton says she was twice offered the nation's highest civilian honor by Donald Trump—but she had to turn down the then-president both times. "I couldn't accept it because my husband was ill and then they asked me again about it and I wouldn't travel because of the COVID," the Nashville legend told the Today show Monday. She said she has now heard from President Biden as well about the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but she's unsure about accepting it. "Now I feel like if I take it, I'll be doing politics, so I'm not sure," she said. The BBC notes that when Stephen Colbert asked Barack Obama last year why he hadn't awarded Parton the medal, he said, "I think I assumed that she'd already got one and that was incorrect. I'm surprised, she deserves one."

Parton, who turned 75 last month, is renowned for philanthropy as well as country music, the Tennessean notes. Her Imagination Library child literacy nonprofit has given more than 150 million books to children since it was founded in 1995, and she donated $1 million toward the development of the Moderna COVID vaccine. "But I don't work for those awards," she told Today. "It'd be nice but I'm not sure that I even deserve it. But it's a nice compliment for people to think that I might deserve it." (Tennessee lawmakers are considering another honor for Parton.)

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