Bernie's Mittens Meme Is Now Raising Money for Charity

Senator's campaign is using viral pic on sweatshirt, with proceeds going toward Vt.'s Meals on Wheels
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2021 6:30 AM CST
Bernie's Mittens Meme Put Into Play for a Good Cause
Close-up of the mittens.   (Jonathan Ernst/Pool Photo via AP)

The Bernie Sanders memes taking over the internet, showing him seated at President Biden's inauguration while wearing a pair of bulky artisan mittens, have now been appropriated by Sanders himself—for a good cause. Rolling Stone reports that the Vermont senator's campaign has snatched up the photo taken by Brendan Smialowski for Getty Images and slapped it on a sweatshirt. All money raised from sales of the $45 "Chairman Sanders Crewneck"—named in honor of Sanders' new role as Senate Budget Committee chair—will go toward Vermont's Meals on Wheels program, which serves hot meals to eligible homebound Vermonters.

Unfortunately, unless there's a restocking, if you haven't ordered one of the sweatshirts by now, you're out of luck: TMZ reports that it sold out within just a few hours. A Bernie crochet doll is also making the rounds online. Meanwhile, Rolling Stone talks to photographer Smialowski, who was scanning the Inauguration Day crowds looking for GOP Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley when he spotted Sanders in his seat. He says composition-wise, he thinks his own photo is "garbage," but "in photojournalism, composition comes second to content. And content is the moment." And "this photo is a nice moment. ... [It] trades on who he is. If this was a picture of anybody else and everything's the same, I don't think it would be what it is today." (More here on the Vermont schoolteacher who made Bernie's mittens.)

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