There was an unusual item on the White House lawn Wednesday morning: a giant, 17-foot robotic giraffe.
According to a press pool report, the steel contraption is named Russell, weighs 2,200 pounds, and caused quite the spectacle.
“The neck and head undulated slowly. The mouth opened and closed. The neck swayed gently side to side. Ears flapped,” the report noted.
The robotic beast also featured silver horns the report described as “made from lava-lamp type things with sparkles inside.”
What purpose could it serve?
According to the White House, the robotic critter was part of the first-ever “White House Maker Faire,” an event highlighting “students, entrepreneurs and everyday citizens who are using new tools and techniques to launch new businesses, learn vital skills in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM), and fuel the renaissance in American manufacturing.”
In remarks at the event, President Barack Obama personally marveled at the various inventions.
“What on Earth have you done to my house?” he said to laughter, according to an official transcript. “I mean, there’s a mobile factory on the South Lawn. There’s a robotic giraffe. There’s a giant red weather balloon in the Rose Garden. There’s a paper-crafted dinosaur head in the hallway. Over here is a 3D-printed sculpture of my State of the Union Address. … So, this is not your typical day at the White House.”
Obama and his aides appeared to particularly enjoy the giraffe. The White House even temporarily converted their official video website to a “GIRAFFE CAM” showing Russell’s view of the world.
“Look at this!” Obama said, according to the pool report. “I like those ears.”
“Hee hee. That tickles,” Russell said in a British accent after Obama petted it. (An assistant human provided the voice.)
However, don’t expect the giraffe to be a permanent guest at the White House.
“Secret Service may not like that,” Obama quipped.
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