Dolly Parton Declined the Presidential Medal of Freedom From Both Trump and Biden
When it comes to receiving an honor like the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Dolly Parton doesn't play favorites: She has now declined the accolade from U.S. presidents on both sides of the political aisle.
According to Consequence, Parton recently turned down the Medal of Freedom from President Joe Biden, reporting that the Today Show's Jacob Soboroff recounted an off-air conversation she had with him about it ahead of an interview he conducted with Parton on her upcoming Rock Star album.
"I just don't want even the appearance of being partisan in any way," Soboroff recalls Parton saying, explaining that the country legend didn't want to imply any allegiance toward one party or another by accepting the Medal of Freedom.
Parton previously declined the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice — during President Donald Trump's administration. But in 2021, she said that her decision not to accept the Medal wasn't political: At least, not at first.
"Well, I actually have to be honest in all fairness. I got offered the freedom award from the Trump administration and I couldn't accept it because my husband was ill," the singer said during an early 2021 interview on Today With Hoda and Jenna. "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."
In the same interview, Parton said that the recognition would be "a nice compliment for people to think that I might deserve it," but adds, "I don't work for those awards. It'd be nice, but I'm not sure that I even deserve it."
The Medal of Freedom is presented to public figures 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 is not the first country artist who has been thought of for the award. During his tenure in office, President Barack Obama presented the medal to Loretta Lynn. In 2004, Charlie Daniels also received the medal from President George W. Bush.
See Dolly Parton Through the Years