Vice President Mike Pence was speaking to military families during an event at the White House this week when he accidentally tapped a boy on the face with the back of his arm as he gestured. The kid, who looks to be about 10, adopted an expression of mock horror but didn’t give a single inch of that valuable stage real estate.
As soon as the speech ended, Pence started greeting the children on the other side of him and turned his back to the boy. Undeterred, this young turk politely called out, “Excuse me,” and followed Pence across the stage. He was close enough to the microphone that it picked up his voice as he tried to see around Pence’s back. “You owe me an apology,” he added.
When Pence finally noticed, he went full grandpa, putting both hands on the boy’s head to say, “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bop you.”
Here’s the whole vicious confrontation, from the nudge to the apology. What it does not show are the horrified parents of he-who-will-not-be-bopped, undoubtedly fighting their way through the crowd begging their son not to make a scene like he did last Christmas. Or during Frozen. Or yesterday. Clearly, this kid is assertive.
Since this was a celebration in honor of National Military Spouse Appreciation Day and National Military Family Month, the parents were probably sweating bullets for a few hours, waiting to hear if their kid ran afoul of mom or dad’s boss’ boss-to-the-25th-power.
While the event itself is rightfully serious — military families deserve a day in the sun — the event itself was pretty humorous. In addition to this unusual exchange, the families were greeted by Marlon Bundo, Bunny of the United States. I kid you not. This adorable mascot even has its own Instagram, which, sadly, is drawing more than a few haters. Kids and pets are off limits, people!
Pence, alongside his wife Karen, used the bunny to grease the wheels with the kids who flanked the podium. “Thanks for coming,” Pence said to one girl. “Did you see my bunny rabbit yet?” Cue late-night hosts cackling with glee over that easy target.
The whole thing really is a nice reality check for the politicians in Washington. No matter how high you climb, kids still won’t know who you are.