Marlon Bundo, former Vice President Mike Pence’s family’s favorite pet rabbit who became a literary and social media star, has died.
Charlotte Pence Bond, Pence’s daughter, confirmed Marlon’s death in a series of social media posts on Saturday. “Somehow you taught me how to always try to be kind first and never stop making an effort to get along.” she wrote. “We had wild times together and I am always grateful. Rest in peace, bunny.
Former second lady Karen Pence echoed those sentiments. “God has blessed us and many others with little Marlon Bundo and we will never forget him,” she said. tweeted.
At the time of his death, the rabbit’s verified Instagram account had over 32,000 followers.
Pence Bond first received a Marlon Bundo in 2013 when she was a student at DePaul University in Illinois. She reportedly needed a rabbit for a short film project at the time and purchased it through Craigslist. The online exchange, Pence Bond later told the Chicago Tribune, reminded her of a scene from the 1972 film The Godfather starring Marlon Brando, from whom the rabbit takes its name.
Four years later, Rabbit and the Pence family moved from Indiana to Washington, D.C. after Mike Pence was elected Vice President and became the first Rabbit to travel on Air Force Two.
Marlon Bando rose to national prominence through a series of children’s books written by Pence Bond and illustrated by her mother. The first book, A Day in the Life of Vice President Marlon Bundo, was released in 2018.
However, shortly after Marlon Bundo’s literary debut, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver announced plans to create a parody version that would target the Vice President’s established opposition to LGBTQ rights.
Last Week Tonight author Jill Twiss, A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo portrays her character as gay and in love with another male rabbit. The two rabbits end up tying the knot in a same-sex wedding. Proceeds from the sale of the book benefited the Trevor Project, an advocacy group dedicated to LGBTQ suicide prevention.
Pence Bond didn’t seem particularly annoyed by the parody, even though it reportedly outsold Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of a Vice President.
“Marlon really brings people together from different perspectives,” she said in 2018. “I really mean it. Many people will comment and say, “I don’t agree with your family’s politics, but I love Marlon a lot.” They’ll say, “This is one of my favorite accounts that I follow, but I’m not a Republican.” I think it’s great.”