Dolly Parton turned down Medal of Freedom offer from Donald Trump twice

Dolly Parton has revealed she has been offered the Presidential Medal of Freedom not once, but three times, and has already turned the honour down twice.

The medal is a top honour in the US bestowed on citizens by the president and recognises those who have made a significant contribution to ‘the security or national interests of the US, world peace or cultural endeavours’.

During his administration, former president Donald Trump had tried to give Dolly the medal on two occasions, but she was forced to turn both offers down.

Now, the iconic country singer, 75, has revealed she’s been contacted by new US president Joe Biden’s team about the medal, but she’s reluctant to accept his offer over fears it could be seen as a political move.

Speaking on the Today show, Dolly explained that due to circumstances she had to decline Trump’s previous attempts to give her the medal.

‘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 Covid,’ the Jolene hit-maker revealed.

Addressing Biden’s attempt to honour her, Dolly said: ‘Now I feel like if I take it I’ll be doing politics, so I’m not sure.’

She stressed that while she’s flattered by the recognition, it’s not something she has gone out of her way to get.

Dolly added: ‘I don’t work for those awards. 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.’

An acclaimed country star, Dolly has 10 Grammy Awards to her name, 25 Billboard chart number one hits and 44 top 10 country albums, but as well as taking the music biz by storm, the singer has become known for her humanitarian efforts too.

Dolly has her own charity the Dollywood Foundation, funded by profits she makes, that grants scholarships and awards, includes its own literacy programme, and provides support to non-profits focused on improving the quality of life of children.

Dolly has also raised money for the American Red Cross and HIV/Aids charities, and more recently donated $1million (£731m) to research behind a coronavirus vaccine amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sharing her pride at being involved in the medical efforts that resulted in a vaccine being made, Dolly said: ‘I’m sure many many millions of dollars by many people went into that but I just felt so proud to have been a part of that little seed money that hopefully will grow into something great and help to heal this world.’ 

She joked: ‘Lord knows we need it!’

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