President Trump offered the nation’s highest civilian honor – the Presidential Medal of Freedom – twice to legendary country music superstar Dolly Parton. She turned his offer down twice. Now it is very likely that she will have to decide if she will accept the honor from President Biden.
It’s not what you might have thought when you read the headline. Parton didn’t turn down Trump due to a personal dislike of him or any of the other reasons that celebrities who opposed Trump used to avoid being in the same room as him. She wasn’t sending a message of protest against President Trump. Dolly Parton said that both times she was extended the invitation to accept the honor from Trump, she had personal reasons to turn it down. One time her husband was ill, and the second time was because she wouldn’t travel during the coronavirus pandemic. Both of those are legitimate excuses to beg off such an event.
Parton is famously non-political. She isn’t stupid. As a successful businesswoman, she knows that it is counterproductive to eliminate any of her audience with political talk. Most celebrities were like that, back in the day, and not at all like today’s woke celebrities who never let a partisan thought go unexpressed in social media. The Biden administration is reaching out to her now for the same reason. She thinks if she accepts such an honor from a president, it will be construed as a political act. She doesn’t want to do that.
“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.
Last November I wrote about Dolly Parton’s generous financial contribution toward finding a coronavirus vaccine. She contributed a $1M donation to Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in honor of her friend, Dr. Naji Abumrad, a physician and professor of surgery there. Her donation partially funded Moderna’s experimental 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.”
Former President Obama is trying to take credit for Biden’s decision, natch. After he learned that Trump was trying to honor Parton with the medal, he said he should have done it himself. Right. Obama was too busy giving the honor to woke musicians like Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, and Barbra Streisand. President Trump gave it to only one musician – the late Elvis Presley.
In an interview last fall, former President Barack Obama said he should have given the singer the prestigious award.
“How does Dolly Parton not have a presidential medal of freedom?” Comedian Stephen Colbert asked Obama.
“That’s a mistake. I’m shocked,” the former president replied. “Actually, that was a screwup, I’m surprised. I think I assumed that she’d already got one and that was incorrect. I’m surprised, she deserves one.”
He added that he planned to “call Biden,” a promise he seemingly kept his word on, given that Parton said she’d heard from the current president already — even though his administration just took office on Jan. 20.
The only time Dolly Parton has gotten herself caught up in a political argument was last August, during the Summer of Love when she dared to say that yes, black lives matter because all lives matter. Leftists were trying to get her to support the rioting mobs and she did as well as could be expected with that situation.
If Biden does go through with inviting her to receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom, I hope she accepts. If she can travel and she’s comfortable with it, she deserves the recognition. Everyone loves Dolly Parton. She’s already publicly explained her position. No one mistakes her for a political activist. Dolly’s contribution toward the development of a coronavirus vaccine is just one item on a long list of charitable giving for which she is credited. She should accept the honor now.
I’ll end with this. Dolly re-recorded her hit song 9 to 5 for a Super Bowl ad. Enjoy.
Dolly Parton has re-recorded her hit song 9 to 5, in a Super Bowl ad for Squarespace, as "5 to 9," as an ode to having a side hustle https://t.co/tmfbUbJqaA
— Joe Weisenthal (@TheStalwart) February 2, 2021