- Sanders never expected to become an internet sensation just by dressing as a “sensible Vermonter.”
- He calls his viral mittens moment on Inauguration Day as “weird” and the memes it generated as “weirder.”
- “Who would have thought?” he wrote in “It’s OK to be angry about capitalism.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders never expected to become an internet sensation just by dressing as a “sensible Vermonter” for a cold Inauguration Day in 2021.
It wasn’t until he returned to his office after the ceremony that he learned a photo of him, sitting alone on a folding chair wearing a mask and mittens, had gone viral, he wrote in his new book, “It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism,” set to be published on February 21.
“That was weird,” he deadpanned.
Sanders wrote that “it got weirder” a few days later when he started seeing memes of himself across the globe. An NYU student quickly set up a website that allowed users to put bundled Bernie at any address.
“There I was with my mittens on the moon, at the Last Supper, on the Titanic, alongside Forrest Gump, next to Spider-Man, on top of skyscrapers,” he wrote, noting that the photo generated more memes than almost any other taken in 2021.
“Who would have thought?” he wrote.
In more than 50 years of public life, Sanders wrote that he “never received so much attention.”
The ever-rumpled Sanders wrote that Vermonters are “a practical and functional people” who try to stay warm. “Style is not our focus,” the two-time presidential candidate wrote.
The “warm Vermont coat” that he wore to President Joe Biden’s inauguration, he wrote, was the only coat he had in Washington. “What else would I wear?”
The pair of mittens he kept in his pockets were knitted by Jen Ellis, a school teacher from Essex Junction, Vermont, who sold out the items after the photo went viral.
Sanders wrote that the photo created “a lot of smiles,” but also allowed him to raise funds for organizations serving low-income Vermonters. His campaign organization sold T-shirts and sweatshirts with the photo that he said raised $2 million for Meals on Wheels and other agencies around the state.