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VP pool report
Maureen Groppe • USA Today
May 9, 2017: 05:15 PM


The Vice President hosted 160 members of military families – about 60 of whom were children – in his ceremonial office to celebrate Military Appreciation Month and Military Spouse Appreciation Day, which is on Friday.

But the star of the show was the Pence family's rabbit, Marlon Bundo, otherwise known as BOTUS (Bunny of the United States) who made his first White House appearance.

"Thanks for coming," Pence said as he shook hands with a little girl. "Did you see my bunny rabbit yet?"

The kids, in their party dresses and bow ties, colored pictures of rabbits and American flags. Refreshments included lemonade and ice cream.

Ivanka Trump was there with her children.

"What's your name?" she asked a boy named Joseph. "We have a Joseph!" she told him.

Ivanka Trump spoke to the group first. Here are some quotes:

"Our heroes in uniform could not do their jobs if it were not for the love and support of their incredible families, so please give yourself a round of applause."

"I'm in awe of the courage and the strength of our incredible military spouses….their commitment and dedication is just as critical a service to our country."

She said the Pences know the sacrifices military families make because their son, Michael, is a Marine.

Pence followed Trump to the lectern with his wife, Karen, who was holding BOTUS (very tightly as she stroked his ears.)

She said BOTUS is "kind of famous" because he's the first bunny to ride on Air Force 2.

"Oh my god!" exclaimed one of the kids surrounding the lectern.

Karen Pence explained that her daughter, Charlotte, got the rabbit for a film she made in college. (Hence the name Marlon Bundo.)

"This notoriety is nothing new for him," she said.

BOTUS, who has his own Instagram account, is "very tame," runs around the Pence's house and jumps in his cage when he needs to, she said.

"Marlon came today really just to say `hi' to you and to say `thank you' to all the children," she said.

As the VP started to clap, his wife stopped him, motioning that the noise would cause BOTUS to jump out of her arms.

"Don't clap!" she admonished.

Once BOTUS departed with the second lady, the kids had less interest in who was speaking.

As the VP started his remarks, one young man pounded his fist on the lectern, saying "`Scuze me!"

Another tried to rip the vice presidential seal of the lectern.

"I love these kids," Pence said.

He continued gamely through his remarks despite a scuffle that broke out between two of the boys at his side.

Pence said he wanted to give a rousing round of applause to the military spouse and to "all of these wonderful and (pause) energetic children who are with us today."

Pence said the president is committed to giving military members and their families the "resources you need and deserve."

"I hope you see this crowded room as just one more down payment on the debt of honor and the debt of gratitude that we owe to the families of our armed services," he said.

After ending his remarks, Pence told the crowd "more ice cream is available" before hugging some of the children and posing for photos.



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