Vice President Mike Pence and his family have a pet rabbit named Marlon Bundo, who goes by BOTUS for short. And Bundo the rabbit could turn out to be a cash cow for the Pences, who are hawking a children’s book about the rabbit, written by Pence’s daughter and illustrated by second lady Karen Pence.
But Pence’s family values, reflected in decades of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and policy that prompted at least two U.S. Olympic athletes to publicly spurn him at the Winter Games last month — could end up tanking his family’s foray into publishing.
Enter John Oliver, whose satirical news show “Last Week Tonight” made its own version of the Pence family’s book, with one notable difference: In their story, the bunny is super gay.
Now, the gay version of Marlon Bundo’s story is outselling the Pence family’s on Amazon, even though it’s more expensive, and it's doing better critically, with 3,500 perfect ratings from customers compared to the Pence family's 74. (The show says the gay bunny book proceeds will go to LGBTQ-friendly charities like The Trevor Project and AIDS United.)
And the book trolling the Pences isn't just outselling its inspiration — it shot to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list, beating out major books like James Comey’s upcoming memoir.
Though Karen Pence has declined to comment, her daughter, Charlotte, offered a response to Oliver’s stunt during an appearance on Fox Business.
“I mean, I think you know, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery in a way,” Charlotte said. “But also, in all seriousness, his book is contributing to charities that I think we can all get behind. We have two books giving to charities that are about bunnies, so I’m all for it really.” Some proceeds from sales of the Pences' book will reportedly go to nonprofits that focus on fighting human trafficking and providing art therapy for kids.
Cover image: Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, arrives with their family rabbit 'Marlon Bundo' during an event with military families celebrating National Military Appreciation Month and National Military Spouse Appreciation Day in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building May 9, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)