Bernie Sanders Reacts After 'Mittens' Memes from Inauguration Day Go Viral

The Vermont senator said he was "having fun" with the jokes and the viral image helped raised millions for charity.

Bernie Sanders, who was at the center of viral memes after Inauguration Day, opened up about the attention he received over his grumpy look. The Vermont senator said he was "having fun" with the jokes and the viral image helped raised millions for charity.

On Jan. 20, Sanders — dressed in a simple winter coat and knit gloves — was photographed sitting socially distant from other attendees with folded arms and crossed legs. The look was starkly different from the glamorous one by President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and other attendees. The photograph quickly became viral with social media users creating several memes out of his look.

"What we're doing here in Vermont is, we're going to be selling around the country sweatshirts and T-shirts," Sanders told CNN's Dana Bash on State of the Union on Sunday. "And all of the money that's going to be raised, which I expect will be a couple of million dollars, will be going to programs like Meals on Wheels that feed low-income senior citizens. So, it turns out, actually, to be a good thing, and not only a fun thing."

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders Twitter

Sanders' grumpy look also made its way to Snapchat and Instagram in the form of filters. Users can find the various lens on Snapchat that would place the sitting Bernie meme anywhere. On Instagram, users can transform their selfies with mask, coat and Sanders' now-famous gloves that have been called mittens by many. So far, Sanders has been photoshopped in a number of pictures with different backgrounds including historical monuments, movie scenes and famous paintings.

Who Was Behind the "Mittens"?

The knit gloves were given to Sanders by a "very, very nice" schoolteacher who lives in Vermont, the senator said during an interview on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

"She has been somewhat overwhelmed by the kind of attention that is being shown to her mittens," Sanders said.

The demand for the gloves increased after Sanders' appearance on President Joe Biden's swearing-in ceremony. However, Jen Ellis, the teacher who made the gloves, informed on Twitter that the gloves were not for sale.

"I'm so flattered that Bernie wore them to the inauguration," Ellis tweeted. "Sadly, I have no more mittens for sale."