During the Obama administration, dozens of artists, legendary athletes, writers and humanitarians received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor a president can give out. Those recipients were almost always super-pleased about receiving the medal during the Obama era. Then Trump came in and he was desperate to hang out with cool people, and he handed out those medals to random MAGA people and various Republican “celebrities.” The medal was devalued culturally. President Obama was asked last year why he never gave the medal to Dolly Parton and Obama admitted that it was some kind of mix-up, a major mistake which he hoped President Biden would rectify. Now it turns out that Trump tried to give Dolly the medal and she said “thanks but no thanks.”
Besides being East Tennessee’s songbird, country superstar Dolly Parton has always had a philanthropic side and it turns out even presidents have noticed! The queen of country, 75, told TODAY in an interview that former President Donald Trump’s administration tried to give her the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, twice but she had to turn them down.
“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,” she explained, adding that she has since heard from President Joe Biden about the award as well. “Now I feel like if I take it, I’ll be doing politics, so I’m not sure. But I don’t work for those awards,” she continued. “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.”
“I think everyone thinks you might deserve it,” TODAY’s Hoda Kotb reassured her.
Since 1995, the “Jolene” singer has run Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a literacy program that’s donated more than 100 million children’s books in the past 26 years. In 2016, her Dollywood Foundation donated $1,000 per month to several hundred families in East Tennessee that lost their homes to wildfires.
She also donated $1 million to help fund coronavirus research at Vanderbilt University, which helped make the Moderna vaccine. “I’m just happy that anything I do can help somebody else, and when I donated the money to the COVID fund, I just wanted it to do good,” she told TODAY last November. “Evidently, it is.”
Even if Dolly was “doing politics,” I don’t think anyone would blame her? Celebrities avoided the Trump White House like the plague, for good reason, and I’m sure Dolly did not want to be photographed with that orange dumbass. But I love that the Biden administration has already gotten in touch with her! Please accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Biden!
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.
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