While the Presidential Inauguration 2021 made history for several different reasons, one of the unexpected highlights of the day became Sen. Bernie Sanders sitting on a chair. On the day of the inauguration, the senator was photographed sitting on a chair, social distancing, wearing a Burton parka jacket and hand-knit mittens, along with a surgical face mask.
That photo instantly went viral and the internet was lightning quick at making a bunch of memes with the image.
People edited Sanders into all sorts of preexisting photos; - from iconic locations around the world, to movie posters and images of famous personalities. Some show the senator’s mittens touching Michelangelo’s Hand of God in the Sistine Chapel, to him helping actor Demi Moore in the famous pottery scene still from the film “Ghost”, to Bernie at the World War Two Yalta Conference in 1945, seated next to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
With the unimpressed look on Sanders’ face in the image, some even lightheartedly joked about how he looked like the ‘inauguration was on his to-do list but he also had other places to go’. Some captioned the image, ‘this could’ve been an email’.
When asked if he was aware that he became an overnight sensation on social media, Bernie Sanders on the show Late Night with Seth Meyers laughed and told the host that he was “not at all” aware of the memes. What about that expression, Bernie Sanders, as he responded, "I was just simply there, trying to keep warm, trying to pay attention to what was going on."
But what really won over peoples’ hearts is when Sanders announced that the photo is not being printed on crewneck sweatshirts, and will be sold. All these proceedings will go to charity, particularly to ‘Meals on Wheels Vermont’ which provides hot meals to Vermonters with chronic conditions or disabilities.
Someone also made a handmade crocheted doll inspired by the viral inauguration meme of the senator and has sold it at an auction for more than $40,000, with 100% of the proceeds going to charity.