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"It makes people aware that we make good mittens in Vermont," joked Bernie Sanders of his viral photo

By Jen Juneau
January 22, 2021 10:13 AM
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Bernie Sanders is taking his new meme status as a compliment — and turning it into some iconic merchandise for a good cause.

The Vermont senator and former presidential hopeful, 79, went viral this week after Wednesday's inauguration of President Joe Biden, during which Sanders stole the show with his cozy attire and overtly casual demeanor.

A photo of the Democratic politician in a folding chair, looking snug in a windbreaker coat and patterned mittens, has since popped up on the internet edited into everything from the Titanic door scene (alongside a joke about Sanders being the real reason Jack couldn't fit) to the Sex and the City gal group, and even as Patrick Swayze's character in Ghost.

According to NBC News' Garrett Haake, Sanders joked of the meme-related attention he has gotten, "It makes people aware that we make good mittens in Vermont."

"We have some good coats, as well," he quipped in addition. (His was from Burton, which is headquartered in Burlington, Vt.)

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Chairman Sanders Crewneck
Bernie Sanders meme sweatshirt
| Credit: Bernie Campaign Store

Sanders' team wasted no time in leveraging the longtime politician's new most popular photo into a product initiative for charity — Sanders' wife, Jane, confirmed in a tweet on Thursday.

A dark-gray sweatshirt featuring the photo of a masked-up Sanders is now on sale for $45 from his campaign store online.

The unisex piece, made in the U.S., is crafted from 100 percent combed ring-spun organic cotton fleece, according to the description, which also warns potential buyers, "Due to overwhelming demand for this item, it may be a few weeks until you receive your sweatshirt."

bernie sanders
Sen. Bernie Sanders
| Credit: Getty

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Sanders dressed sensibly for the chilly 42-degree Fahrenheit temperature in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, opting for a casual Burton GORE-TEX parka that he was spotted wearing earlier this year in a campaign video. He also stayed practical by wearing a disposable protective face mask and cozy mittens that had Twitter talking.

Even The New York Times' fashion critic, Vanessa Friedman, wrote on Twitter, "In all the inauguration fashion news, let us not overlook Senator Bernie Sanders' mittens."

While speaking with Gayle King on CBS News Wednesday, Sanders addressed his viral inauguration outfit.

"In Vermont, we know something about the cold, and we're not so concerned about good fashion, we want to keep warm," the senator said with a laugh. "And that's what I did today."