Now, the comedian is finally explaining how the slip-up happened in the first place.
"So, I’ve known this for about a month — that I was going to get it," she told the audience at TheEllen DeGeneres Show Tuesday, "but I couldn’t say anything because it was top secret. I couldn’t let it fall into the hands of the Russians."
"And so, you know, we knew about this and we were all planning the whole trip," she continues. "I brought my family with me and we fly across (the) country and a driver takes us to the White House and Portia and I are walking ... and we’re like midway, almost there, and she just turns to me and she goes, ‘You have your ID, right?' And I was like, 'No, I don’t.' ... And she thought I was kidding. And I was like, ‘Why would I think — I’m getting the Medal of Freedom! I didn’t think I needed (ID).'"
And so, the comedian was forced to wait outside 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, braving the "freezing" 60-degree weather while fellow honorees like Diana Ross, Robert De Niro, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks and Michael Jordan passed her.
"Bruce Springsteen and Patti (Scialfa, his wife) are passing me and they’re like, 'How do you not bring an ID to the White House?'" DeGeneres said before pointing to her face and saying, "And I was like, ‘This is my ID, Bruce. This is my ID.'"
White House security apparently felt differently, but they had a change of heart after DeGeneres sent out a single tweet, poking fun at her own oversight.
"After it was viewed by millions of people in about five minutes, someone came out and went, 'You can come in now,'" she joked.
DeGeneres then aired a clip of the Mannequin Challenge the honorees did ahead of the ceremony before gushing about receiving her award. "I was so honored to be with that group of people — it was amazing," DeGeneres said. "The ceremony was incredible. If you haven’t seen what President Obama said, go to our website, it was beautiful. I don’t even know how to express in words how honored I felt getting that from the President of the United States who I love so very much."