Marlon Bundo, the beloved pet rabbit of former Vice President Mike Pence’s family 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 some wild times together and I’m forever grateful. Rest in sweet peace, little bunny.”
Former second lady Karen Pence echoed those sentiments. “God blessed us and many others with little Marlon Bundo and we will never forget him,” she tweeted.
At the time of his death, the rabbit’s verified Instagram account had more than 32,000 followers.
Pence Bond first obtained Marlon Bundo in 2013, when she was a student at DePaul University in Illinois. At the time, she reportedly needed a rabbit for a short film project, and purchased him via Craigslist. The online exchange, Pence Bond later told the Chicago Tribune, reminded her of a scene in 1972’s “The Godfather” starring actor Marlon Brando, from whom the bunny takes his name.
Four years later, the bunny relocated with the Pence family 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 Bundo rose to national prominence as the subject of a series of children’s books written by Pence Bond and illustrated by her mother. The first book, “Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President,” was published in 2018.
Not long after Marlon Bundo’s literary debut, however, “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver announced plans for a parody version that would take aim at the vice president’s well-established opposition to LGBTQ rights.
Authored by “Last Week Tonight” writer Jill Twiss, “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo” depicted its subject as gay and in love with another male rabbit. The two bunnies end up tying the knot in a same-sex wedding. Proceeds from the book’s sales benefited the Trevor Project, an advocacy group focused on LGBTQ suicide prevention.
Pence Bond didn’t appear particularly vexed by the parody, even as its sales reportedly outpaced those of “Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President.”
“Marlon really brings people together from all different viewpoints,” she said in 2018. “I really mean that. A lot of people will comment and will say, ‘I don’t agree with your family’s politics, but I love Marlon so much.’ They’ll say, ‘It’s one of my favorite accounts that I follow, but I’m not a Republican.’ I think that’s great.”