The infamous mittens Bernie Sanders wore to the inauguration have helped to raise millions for charities in Vermont, the senator’s home state. On Wednesday (Jan. 27), the former presidential candidate announced that the recently-launched merch line, which featured the viral meme of his outfit at the ceremony, helped him to earn over $1.8 million.
“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 in a statement. “But even this amount of money is no substitute for action by Congress, and 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 was spotted looking warm and cozy as he attended the inauguration service last week in a brown parka and brown wool mittens. The particular image of him with his legs crossed went on to spark viral memes that tickled most, if not all, social media users that came across them.
The Vermont native milked the moment, adding the meme to various items from his new “Chairman Sanders” merchandise line, and the first two runs sold out almost immediately.
The proceeds will go to various charitable organizations, including Meals on Wheels, Feeding Chittenden, Vermont Parent Child Network, The Chill Foundation, senior centers in Vermont and more.
Jen Ellis — the designer responsible for Sanders’ mittens — also benefited from the meme, recently announcing she has “no more mittens for sale.” She did, however, make three more pairs; one will be auctioned off for her daughter’s college fund, while the other two were donated to Passion 4 Paws Vermont and Outright Vermont.