Former presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) sits in the stands on Capitol Hill before Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th US President on January 20, 2021 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images
They were beaten with Bernie’s gloves.
Senator Bernie Sanders said Wednesday that sales of merchandise with a viral image of the independent Vermont mittens raised a whopping $ 1.8 million for charity in just five days at President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“Jane and I were amazed at the creativity so many people have shown over the past week, and we’re glad we can use my internet fame to help Vermonters in need,” Sanders said in a statement, relating referring to his wife.
A photo of Sanders sitting alone in a chair, legs crossed, bundled up in a parka, and wearing a chunky pair of hand-knitted mittens at Biden’s inauguration, became a social media sensation.
The mittens Sanders wore were made by Vermont school teacher Jen Ellis from recycled wool sweaters and fleece from recycled plastic bottles.
The image of Sanders has been used in countless memes depicting him in unlikely places like family barbecues, in a mixed martial arts brawl, on a bench with the movie character Forrest Gump, and on the moon next to the American flag.
After the image went viral, Sanders’ campaign store put a “Chairman Sanders” collection up for sale, including sweatshirts and t-shirts featuring the image.
The proceeds from the sale of the goods will benefit Vermont nonprofits that focus on hunger relief and other social issues.
According to Sanders, Getty Images will also donate the proceeds from the license agreement for the photo to Meals on Wheels America.
Burton Snowboards, which makes the brown jacket Sanders wore at the inauguration, donated 50 jackets to the Burlington Department for Children and Families in honor of the Senator.
While Sanders, the new chairman of the Senate Budgets Committee, was content with the nearly $ 2 million in sales of goods to date, the self-described Democratic socialist couldn’t resist emphasizing his belief that government, not private charities, should be the primary safety net for Americans.
“But even this amount of money is no substitute for measures taken by Congress,” Sanders said in his statement.