- 02 Feb 21
In April 2020, Parton donated $1m to help research and development of the Moderna vaccine against Covid-19 as well as working to improve children's literacy.
Dolly Parton has revealed that she has turned down the Presidential Medal of Freedom twice from Donald Trump - once as a result of her husband's illness and on another occasion because of high Covid cases.
Parton also mused that she may not accept the highest US civilian honour from the freshly-inaugurated President Joe Biden, because it might seem political to do so.
“I couldn’t accept it because my husband was ill,” the 75-year-old country music star told NBC, “and then they asked me again about it and I wouldn’t travel because of the Covid.”
“Now I feel like if I take it, I’ll be doing politics, so I’m not sure," Parton added, referring to Biden's offer.
“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.”
Parton donated $1m to help research and development of the Moderna vaccine last year, which isn't the first time that the music icon has made headlines for her generosity.
The music legend and philanthropist created The Dollywood Foundation in 1988, which focuses on literacy and education in her home county of Sevier County, Tennessee.
“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. Evidently, it is.”
Under Trump, the cases of the virus spiralled totally out of control in the US. As of this week, the country had recorded nearly 26.3 million coronavirus cases and more than 443,000 deaths. Biden has said the final death toll could reach 660,000.
Trump made headlines late in his term by bestowing the Presidential Medal of Freedom to close political allies Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan - Republican congressmen who supported the former president through his House impeachment and various other controversies.
In November, CBS Late Show host Stephen Colbert asked former president Barack Obama why Dolly Parton had failed to be given the civilian honour.
“How does Dolly Parton not have a Presidential Medal of Freedom?”
“That’s a mistake," Obama replied, noting that he'd give Biden a call about the matter. "I’m shocked. Actually, that was a screw-up, I’m surprised. I think I assumed that she’d already got one and that was incorrect. I’m surprised, she deserves one.