Bernie Sanders’ bundled up inauguration outfit has been the butt of social media jokes since fans noticed him attempting to keep warm during the event. The image of him wearing a grey windbreaker, blue face mask and brown mittens to the ceremony has been plastered on different backgrounds, including J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive album cover, creating memes that have circulated the internet and gotten his attention.
Recently, the Vermont senator — who made an appearance on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” — admitted he’s seen the memes and proceeded to tell fans about the inspiration behind his look.
“I was just sitting there, trying to keep warm, trying to pay attention to what’s going on,” he explained. Despite being the source of amusement, Sanders is taking advantage of the spotlight and using it as an opportunity to earn money for charity. He’s photoshopped his inauguration look onto sweaters that are currently on sale, and seems just as excited that the woman who made the mittens has gotten some attention as well.
“What was really nice, Seth, is the woman who made the mittens lives in Essex Junction, Vermont,” he said on the late night talk show. “She is a school teacher and is a very, very nice person. She has been somewhat overwhelmed by the kind of attention that is being shown to her mittens.”
Jen Ellis — the mitten designer — reportedly gifted Sanders with his smittens (part mittens, part sweater) years ago during a campaign run. She was surprised to see him donning them at high-profile events and appreciates the newfound attention she’s received in the wake of the inauguration, but no more of her items are available.
“Thanks for all the interest in Bernie’s mittens!” she tweeted. “I’m so flattered that Bernie wore them to the inauguration. Sadly, I have no more mittens for sale. There are a lot of great crafters on ETSY who make them.”
“There’s no possible way I could make 6,000 pairs of mittens, and every time I go into my email, another several hundred people have emailed me,” Ellis further explained in an interview with the Jewish Insider. “I hate to disappoint people, but the mittens, they’re one of a kind and they’re unique and, sometimes in this world, you just can’t get everything you want.”