The Slatest

Bernie Sanders Happy to Have Gone Viral Because He’s Raising Money for Charity

Jonas Never (@never1959) paints a mural of Senator Bernie Sanders in Culver City, California on January 24, 2021.
Jonas Never (@never1959) paints a mural of Senator Bernie Sanders in Culver City, California on January 24, 2021. CHRIS DELMAS/Getty Images

Sure, Sen. Bernie Sanders is “having fun” with his photo turning into a ubiquitous meme that has taken the internet by storm. But that’s not the only reason he’s glad that his photo from Inauguration Day has become iconic. He’s also using it to raise money for charity. The photo that has been everywhere since Wednesday has turned out “to be a good thing, and not only a fun thing,” he said.

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Sanders was asked about the photo that shows him sitting on a chair while wearing a coat, mask, and mittens during an interview Sunday on CNN. Host Dana Bash brought up the photo and put up lots of examples of how people have placed the image of Sanders in different settings, including scenes from movies and TV shows, historical events, and famous paintings. “Are you having as much fun with this as the world is?” asked Bash. “I am,” replied Sanders but said that some good would come out of it too. “We’re going to be selling around the country sweaters and T-shirts. 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.”

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Sanders had previously talked about going viral in an interview with Seth Meyers. “I was just sitting there trying to keep warm, trying to pay attention to what was going on,” he said. In another interview he made clear he was more worried about staying warm than how he looked. “You know in Vermont, we dress warm, we know something about the cold, and we’re not so concerned about good fashion, we want to keep warm. And that’s what I did today,” Sanders told CBS News.

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