Exclusive: First look at the next adventures of Marlon Bundo, Vice President Mike Pence's pet rabbit
WASHINGTON – Marlon Bundo is one busy bunny.
In "Marlon Bundo's A Day in the Nation's Capital," the rabbit hops onto the Supreme Court bench, takes in a show at the Kennedy Center, gazes sorrowfully at the names etched on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and paws through the first Marlon Bundo book at the Library of Congress.
"When we read about famous people and events from history, we learn important lessons – like how to treat everyone fairly," the rabbit says.
Charlotte Pence, who acquired the rabbit for a student film project as a freshman in college, is now studying religion and literature at Harvard Divinity School.
She first teamed up with her mother to write about the rabbit after he became a social media star following Mike Pence's election. The first vice presidential pet to have its own Instagram account, Marlon Bundo earned the nickname BOTUS – Bunny of the United States.
But on the same day last year that the Pences came out with the first book, which illustrated a day in the life of the vice president as seen through the rabbit's eyes, comedian John Oliver created an alternative version that was meant as a criticism of the vice president’s record on gay rights. Oliver's book has outpaced the original in sales on Amazon.
The Trevor Project – a nonprofit dedicated to suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth – sent copies of Oliver's book to the Christian school where Karen Pence teaches that does not allow gay students. Regnery Media, the publisher of the Pences' version, countered with copies of the original.
Instead of dismissing Oliver’s parody, Charlotte Pence bought a copy. She said people should support both books since proceeds from both go to charity.
“My dad has always taught me to handle situations with grace … just to be kind whenever you can,” she told USA TODAY in an interview last year about her other book, “Where You Go: Life Lessons from My Father."
In the Marlon Bundo books, he refers to Mike and Karen Pence as "Grandma and Grampa."
The rabbit's romp through Washington takes him to places meant to illustrate the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance. First stop is the Washington National Cathedral, which, Grandma tells Marlon Bundo, is a symbol of religious freedom. At the final stop, Arlington National Cemetery, Marlon Bundo says he's learned that "Even when we disagree, we are still indivisible, which means we will be one country no matter our differences."
A third book, "Marlon Bundo's Best Christmas Ever" will be published this fall in time for the holidays.
A portion of the proceeds of the books go to A21, a nonprofit supported by Charlotte Pence that is dedicated to abolishing human trafficking, and to art therapy programs supported by Karen Pence.
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