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Marlon Bundo, Pence family rabbit and unlikely gay rights figure, dies

Then-second lady Karen Pence shows the family's pet rabbit Marlon Bundo the book “Marlon Bundo's A Day in the Life of the Vice President” at their residence at the Naval Observatory in March 2018. (Carolyn Van Houten)
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Marlon Bundo, former vice president Mike Pence’s family pet who was the main character in a series of children’s books by the second family and a parody book that posited the rabbit as gay in a jab at the couple’s stance against LGBTQ rights, has died.

Charlotte Pence Bond, Pence’s daughter, announced Bundo’s death in posts on social media, remembering him as a “ball of love in our lives.”

“We had some wild times together and I’m forever grateful,” Pence Bond wrote of the rabbit.

Pence Bond authored a series of children’s books that were illustrated by her mother, Karen Pence, about Bundo’s look at “A Day in the Life of the Vice President,” having “A Day in the Nation’s Capital” and his “Best Christmas Ever.”

Karen Pence said on Twitter that “our family was sad to bid farewell to our bunny Marlon Bundo … God blessed us and many others with little Marlon Bundo and we will never forget him.”

Bundo had gained fame as the BOTUS (Bunny of the United States), and his Instagram account has more than 32,000 followers.

Pence Bond found Bundo — named, via a pun, after the actor Marlon Brando — on Craigslist when she was a freshman at DePaul University and needed a rabbit for a film project. When the Pence family moved to Washington, Bundo came along, becoming “one of the most popular members of the Trump administration,” The Post’s Style section wrote in 2018.

He’s Bunny of the United States. And now he’s the hero of a children’s book, too.

After the first book about Bundo was announced, “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver said he was releasing a parody book, called “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo.”

Oliver’s book describes Bundo as a “Very Special boy bunny who falls in love with another boy bunny.” The proceeds of the book were donated to the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention organization for young LGBTQ people, and AIDS United. (The proceeds of the Pences’ book went to an art therapy charity and an organization aimed at ending sex trafficking.)

The former second couple’s stance against gay rights is well known. The former vice president opposed same-sex marriage and a law that would prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people in the workplace, and supported a constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Karen Pence took a job as an art teacher at a Christian school that requires potential employees to attest to anti-LGBTQ beliefs including a pledge that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

The spoof pointedly touted its “message of tolerance and advocacy … dedicated to every bunny who has ever felt different.”

Pence Bond was asked about the parody book at a 2018 book tour stop in Colorado Springs at Focus on the Family, an anti-LGBTQ organization that puts its “Understanding Homosexuality” page under the “Get Help” section on its website.

She told the Denver Post that “at the end of the day, it’s a good thing if we have books going to charities, especially books about bunnies and about Marlon. It’s ultimately a good thing.”

“I bought his book to support those charities, too,” Pence Bond said of the parody book.