Dolly Parton Is Not Sure She’d Accept Medal of Freedom From President Biden After Declining Donald Trump Twice
Dolly Parton has an unusual dilemma on her hands. The entertainment icon says she's not sure whether she could accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Joe Biden due to the fact that she previously declined to receive the honor twice from former President Donald Trump.
Parton talked about her quandary in an interview with Today With Hoda and Jenna that's slated to air on Tuesday morning (Feb. 2). Co-host Jenna Bush Hager, whose father is former President George W. Bush, asked the 75-year-old singer, actor, author and philanthropist if she would accept the award if Biden's administration offered it.
"Well, I actually have to be honest in all fairness," Parton tells Bush Hager and co-host Hoda Kotb in a preview clip. "I got offered the freedom award from the Trump administration and I couldn't accept it because my husband was ill."
"Then they asked me again about it and I wouldn't travel because of the COVID, so now I feel like if I take it I'll be doing politics," she adds. "So, I'm not sure."
Bush Hager's question came in response to comments former President Barack Obama made in December of 2020 during an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. When Colbert asked him why he had never honored Parton during a segment titled "Questions We're Pretty Sure Barack Obama Has Never Been Asked Before," Obama said he was "shocked" that she had not received the honor, admitting, "That was a screw-up. I assumed that she had already gotten one. And that was incorrect. I'm surprised. She deserves one."
He then jokingly vowed to take care of the situation, saying, "I'll call Biden" in reference to Joe Biden, who had been elected president in November.
Obama honored Loretta Lynn with the Presidential Medal of Freedom during his tenure as the 44th President of the United States, as well as James Taylor, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. The Medal of Freedom is presented to people who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."
Parton tells Kotb and Bush Hager that the recognition would be "a nice compliment for people to think that I might deserve it," but added, "I don't work for those awards. It'd be nice, but I'm not sure that I even deserve it."
See Dolly Parton Through the Years