VERMONT — On January 21, the Bernie Campaign Store sold out its Chairman Sanders-emblazoned merchandise in less than 30 minutes after the items went for sale, the Associated Press reported.
The garments featuring independent Senator Bernie Sanders generated USD$1.8 million for various Vermont charities between January 21 and 26.
“Jane and I were amazed by all the creativity shown by so many people over the last week, and we’re glad we can use my internet fame to help Vermonters in need,” Sanders said.
The Bernie store sold Chairman Sanders-themed items in the form of sweatshirts, T-shirts, and stickers, with all proceeds going to organizations including Meals on Wheels, Feeding Chittenden, Chill Foundation, and Vermont community action centers, according to the website. Sanders’ office said that Getty Images will likewise donate its proceeds to Meals on Wheels, as part of its licensing agreement to put the viral image on merchandise.
However, Sanders said that the substantial sum of the donations is not enough.
“Even this amount of money is no substitute for action by Congress,” he said. “I will be doing everything I can in Washington to make sure working people in Vermont and across the country get the relief they need in the middle of the worst crisis we’ve faced since the Great Depression.”
Sanders became the unexpected online focal point of President Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, when the image of the parka-clad senator sitting cross-legged, cross-armed, wearing his now-iconic woolly mittens — and a mild expression of chagrin — when viral.
The internet is as the internet does, and before long, a slew of memes emerged with Chairman Sanders photoshopped into an array of bizarre scenarios. He has appeared in such outlandish contexts as the Moon, the intro to Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and even former-Vice President Mike Pence’s hair, in reference to the fly that landed on his head during the 2020 vice presidential debate last October.
Ruby Cramer, a political reporter of Buzzfeed News, tweeted about the provenance of the woolly mittens, saying they were gifted to Sanders by a Vermont teacher named Jen Ellis.
“She gave them to him 2+ years ago and was surprised when he began wearing them on the campaign trail,” Cramer tweeted. “They are made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles.”
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