Country singer Dolly Parton revealed she has declined two offers to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President Donald Trump in the past four years, telling NBC’s Today Show that the decision to turn down the honor was not motivated by politics.
Parton said her decision to turn down the nation’s highest civilian honor was practical, not political.
“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,” Parton explained.
The Biden administration has also approached her about the award, Parton said, but she is unsure about whether to accept it out of fear of being seen to be “doing politics.”
“I don’t work for those awards,” she said, adding that “I’m not sure that I even deserve it.”
Parton is a country music icon and well known for her charitable work. Her Imagination Library initiative, a literacy-boosting project that has gifted over 150 million books to libraries since 1995, is one of her best known philanthropic efforts. After leaving office, Former President Obama described Parton not having received the honor as a “mistake” and that he had incorrectly assumed she had already received one.
In November, Parton was listed as a sponsor in an early report on Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine. The news apparently surprised the singer, who was not aware her $1 million donation to Vanderbilt University Medical Center had been put towards developing the vaccine.
Dolly Parton turned down the Presidential Medal of Freedom twice (Today)