Dolly Parton Says She Turned Down The Presidential Medal Of Freedom From Trump Twice, But Not For Political Reasons
Country music icon Dolly Parton is one of the few public figures who seems immune to the partisan divides cleaving our nation apart, and her investment in Moderna’s vaccine research helped ensure the rest of us can be immune to COVID-19. Philanthropic work like that, providing monthly financial support to East Tennessee families who lost their homes in wildfires, and her monthly free book service the Imagination Library have established Parton as not just an entertainment legend but also a great American citizen. She deserves some kind of award for everything she’s contributed to our society — in fact, she was indeed in line to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump twice. But she turned him down both times, and not for the reasons you might think.
Apparently this wasn’t a case of not wanting to lend legitimacy to Trump, as with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who opted out of the award after the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Rather, in a new interview with Today, Parton said health concerns prevented her from accepting the medal from Trump in both instances. “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. She has already heard from Joe Biden’s administration about the medal, but she may not accept it from him either: “Now I feel like if I take it, I’ll be doing politics, so I’m not sure.”
Late last year, two months after Parton made Stephen Colbert cry, the host asked Barack Obama why he hadn’t awarded Parton the medal during his eight years in office. “That’s a mistake. I’m shocked,” Obama replied. “Actually, that was a screwup, I’m surprised. I think I assumed that she’d already got one and that was incorrect. I’m surprised, she deserves one.” He promised to “call Biden” about rectifying the error, a promise he seemingly must have followed through on. Whether she takes Biden up on it or not, Parton is obviously one of the best we’ve got.