In an interview on the “Today” show on Monday, the “Jolene” singer and lifelong philanthropist said it was just a case of bad timing. She also explained why she’d be hesitant to accept the accolade now from President Joe Biden.
“I couldn’t accept it (from Trump) because my husband was ill and then they asked me again about it and I wouldn’t travel because of the COVID,” she recalled.
“So now, I feel like if I take it, I’ll be doing politics, so I’m not sure,” Parton continued. “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.”
“I think everyone thinks you might deserve it,” “Today” host Hoda Kotb responded. (Watch the video above).
Parton has contributed to a slew of charitable projects. She was cheered last year after it emerged she had donated $1 million to fund a vaccine for COVID-19. It’s prompted calls for a statue of the singer at the Tennessee state Capitol in Nashville.
Former President Barack Obama admitted last year that not awarding the medal to Parton had been a “screw-up” of his administration.