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Dolly Parton Tells Why She Turned Down Donald Trump’s Medal Of Freedom Offer — Twice

Dolly Parton was offered the Medal of Freedom twice during Donald Trump’s presidency, she says, and turned down the honor both times. Now she says that if she accepts the same from President Joe Biden, she’ll be accused of ‘being political.’

Dolly Parton Medal of Freedom refusal
[Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images]

Appearing on the Today Show, Dolly Parton answered questions about being offered the Medal of Freedom. Specifically, hosts noted that former President Obama had been criticized for not offering Parton the Medal of Freedom during his time in office, and reflected on him saying he’d speak to Biden about it.

Asked if President Biden had reached out to her, Dolly answered in the affirmative, but went on to explain that the Trump Administration had twice tried to award her the Medal of Freedom, and she’d declined once because her husband was sick and she didn’t want to leave him, and the second time because she felt it wasn’t appropriate to participate in unnecessary travel during a pandemic. (Parton visited the Today Show virtually.)

Parton has been widely praised for her philanthropic works, including, perhaps most relevant currently, her partial funding of COVID-19 vaccines. According to the Washington Post, a $1 million donation from her to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, made in honor of a surgeon who conversed with her about science and current events, went in part to help fund research on the Moderna vaccine.

That surgeon, Naji Abumrad, credits her donation with speeding up the process. “Without a doubt in my mind, her funding made the research toward the vaccine go 10 times faster than it would be without it,” he says.

Parton has also been attacked by conservatives in recent years for supporting Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ rights, so her analysis, that accepting the Medal of Freedom from the Biden Administration would be used as grounds for another political attack on her, is likely on point.



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