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Dolly Parton Turned Down the Presidential Medal of Freedom Twice During Trump Administration


Dolly Parton has received countless accolades over her career, but one she hasn't yet receieved is the Presidential Medal of Freedom. But that's only because she's turned it down -- twice.

During an interview on The Today Show, Parton was asked about former president Barack Obama's comments on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert last year. Obama said not awarding the country legend the Presidential Medal of Freedom was a "screwup."

TODAY hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager asked the "Jolene" singer if she'd heard from the Biden administration. Parton explained that while she has heard from President Joe Biden, she actually turned down the Medal of Freedom twice when it was offered by former president Donald Trump.

"To be honest, in all fairness, I got offered the Freedom award from the Trump administration. 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 said. "Now I feel like if I take it, I'll be doing politics, so I'm not sure."


Parton explained that while getting offered the award is flattering, she doesn't prioritize awards over her work as a musician and philanthropist.

"But I don't work for those awards," Parton said. "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."

Read More: Dolly Parton Issues a 'Call for Kindness' on Her 75th Birthday

There's no doubt the Grammy-winning music icon deserves the Medal of Freedom. In addition to her musical contributions over her 50-year career, the East Tennessee native has dedicated her life to philanthropy. She launched the Imagination Library, which grants free books to children from birth to age five.


Most recently, Parton donated $1 million to research for the COVID-19 vaccinne. Her donation has helped fund the creation and testing of the Moderna vaccine, which the Guardian reports as having 95 percent protection from the virus. However, Parton has yet to receive the vaccinne.

"I'm going to get it, though," she told CNN. "I didn't want to jump line. I didn't donate the money so I could be protected. I did it for everybody."

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