Some may cite the execution of U.S. citizens’ with no charges or due process, the caging of children at the border, the unrelenting drone-bombing, and the prosecution of whistleblowers under espionage statutes as the biggest “screw-ups” of the Barack Obama administration — but he reckons it was his failure to give Dolly Parton a medal.
The former president recently sat down with The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to promote his new memoir A Promised Land. During the interview, Colbert asked Obama why he failed to honour country music legend Dolly Parton with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honour.
“That’s a mistake. I’m shocked,” Obama revealed. “Looking back at your eight years, do you realize that’s the mistake you made?” asked Colbert.
“Actually, that was a screwup,” Obama admitted. “I’m surprised. I think I assumed that she had already gotten one, and that was incorrect.”
Obama noted that he’d get President-elect Joe Biden on the dog and bone to request that Dolly be honoured. “She deserves one. I’ll call Biden.”
The Medal of Freedom is awarded by the President of the United States “to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavours.”
During his stint as president, Obama honoured a number of musicians with the Medal of Freedom including Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Gloria Estefan and Barbra Streisand.
Love Country Music?
Get the latest Country Music news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more
Check out Barack Obama on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert:
Throughout her illustrious career, Dolly Parton has consistently fought the good fight. From her antiwar activism, LGBTQ+ allegiance, various philanthropic endeavours and the funding of the coronavirus vaccine.
Back in April, Dolly Parton announced that she would make a donation to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville to assist with coronavirus vaccine research.
“My longtime friend Dr Naji Abumrad, who’s been involved in research at Vanderbilt for many years, informed me that they were making some exciting advancements towards that research of the coronavirus for a cure,” Parton wrote in an Instagram post at the time.
“I am making a donation of $1 million to Vanderbilt towards that research and to encourage people that can afford it to make donations.”
That donation helped fund one of the trial sites for the Moderna vaccine, which shows 95% protection from coronavirus.
As BBC note, Dolly’s donation was also used to support a convalescent plasma study researching antibody therapies.
“Her gift provided support for a pilot convalescent plasma study that one of our researchers was able to successfully complete,” Vanderbilt University Medical Center spokesperson John Howser told BBC News.
“Funds from Dolly’s gift are also supporting very promising research into monoclonal antibodies that act as a temporary vaccine for Covid. Two of these antibodies are now being tested by a global pharmaceutical firm.”