A Witness to History and Bernie Sanders in His Mittens

Over the course of Inauguration Day, Brendan Smialowski photographed the security forces stationed around Washington, the arrival of national leaders and the moment Joseph R. Biden Jr. was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.

He also took a photo of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont sitting cross-legged on a folding chair, bundled in a heavy coat and knit mittens, appearing unamused.

Mr. Smialowski, a staff photographer for Agence France-Presse, has been covering Washington since 2003. He has captured historical moments and traveled with presidents and other senior officials. He has won accolades from Pictures of the Year International, World Press Photo and other professional photography organizations. But his photo of Mr. Sanders received one of the higher forms of recognition available on the internet: It was memed.

The image of Mr. Sanders spread like wildfire across the internet, as social media users found new locations for him and his mittens. He sat on a bench with Forrest Gump, rode public transportation in New York City and Chicago, was a guest at the Last Supper and perched atop a metal beam alongside 11 Depression-era ironworkers. He even made it to the moon.

Mr. Smialowski has covered several inaugurations, but Mr. Biden’s was different by “nearly every metric,” he said in an interview on Tuesday. There was increased security, a limited and socially distanced audience and a National Mall filled with flags instead of people.

He was positioned with a direct view of both the section where the senators were seated and the stage where the ceremony would take place. Guests began trickling in. Mr. Sanders arrived around 11:30 a.m., a large envelope tucked under his arm.

“It’s like a ‘Where’s Waldo’ moment,” Mr. Smialowski said. He kept one eye locked into his viewfinder, watching for key political figures, and the other eye on the crowd.

His camera was bouncing between Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri when he noticed Mr. Sanders with his naked eye, he said.

“I just remember thinking, I need to go back to Senator Sanders,” he said. “It was just how he was holding himself, and how he was positioning on the chair. I moved over and just kind of in the moment decided it was worth taking the picture.”

He was surprised the image was sharp, he said, because it was taken from a distance with a slower shutter speed and a long lens.

This was not Mr. Smialowski’s first viral photo. A photo he took in 2017 of Kellyanne Conway, the counselor and longtime aide to former President Donald J. Trump, kneeling on a couch in the Oval Office prompted an internet debate over proper White House decorum. Later that year, another of his photos captured a cyclist making an obscene gesture while Mr. Trump’s motorcade drove past her.

Neither of those photos generated the kind of playful response that the image of Mr. Sanders and his mittens has drawn, Mr. Smialowski said.

“I genuinely enjoy the fact that people are having a lighthearted moment from a political photo,” he said. “Things have been pretty tough for the last year and politics can be pretty nasty, and here are people just having fun.”

Asked why this particular photo had made such an impression, Mr. Smialowski said he wasn’t sure, but Mr. Sanders’s young, internet-savvy fan base most likely played a role.

“Sanders is a well-defined politician; he has a well-defined image,” he said. “It was a good moment, and I think the fact that it’s a good moment helps it, but really what carries it is who Senator Sanders is.”

The downside of this particular photo going viral? It’s not the “prettiest work I’ve ever made,” Mr. Smialowski said.

“I think a picture should be like a bento box: Everything has its place and its purpose, and it all works together when you bring it in together,” he said. “But that’s not the reality of photojournalism. In my approach, composition comes second to content.”

“I’m jealous of myself,” he added. “I wish other work got this type of attention and I wish journalism got this type of attention. But that’s not reality. And it’s not my place to tell people, you know, how to consume what we do.”

While he doesn’t have a favorite iteration of the meme and was reluctant to single any one out, he said it was fun to “see my picture showing up in a piece of art that I’ve liked all my life.”

“It makes me smile a little bit,” he said.

He also expressed admiration for the creative internet users who have given his image of Mr. Sanders a life of its own.

“This is not my work,” he said. “This is other people sometimes just kind of mindlessly dropping a cut-and-paste job and other times taking a lot of time and effort to really kind of do something cool and make a new work. That’s pretty impressive to watch.”

Other than his bursting inbox, not much has changed for Mr. Smialowski since Inauguration Day. “Life is the same,” he said.

“The day was not really about Senator Sanders,” he said. “It’s about a lot of things. Ultimately it’s about, you know, Joe Biden becoming president. Sanders is a supporting part of that story.”

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President Trump Issues Statement Endorsing Sarah Huckabee Sanders for Governor of Arkansas

President Donald Trump has issued a statement endorsing Sarah Huckabee Sanders for governor of Arkansas.

The statement came from his political action committee, Save America.

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The statement begins by saying that “Sarah Huckabee Sanders if a warrior who will always fight for the people of Arkansas and do what is right, not what is politically correct.”

“Sarah is strong on borders, tough on crime, and fully supports the Second Amendment and our great law enforcement officers,” the statement continues. “She loves our military and veterans — and her home state of Arkansas. Sarah will be a GREAT Governor, and she has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

Sanders officially announced her run in a video message on Monday.

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35 Bernie Sanders Memes You Haven’t Seen Yet

The meme that keeps on meme-ing.

This picture of Bernie Sanders is a big meme. You know this. I know this. We all know this.

Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images

Now let’s get to the memes.


One of the best #BerniesMittens tweets yet. #Vancouver has the best park names. #DudeChillingPark @BernieSanders @People4Bernie @SenSanders #BernieSanders #Bernie @BerniesMittens #BernieSandersMittens #CHAIRMANSANDERS

Twitter: @areasonablesoul

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Bernie Sanders On The Inauguration Memes

“I was just sitting there trying to keep warm.”

Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images

Well, now Bernie Sanders has seen ’em too — for the first time, or so he says. When Seth Meyers asked him if he was aware of his instant meme-ification on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Sanders replied, “Not at all.”

Tonight’s guest @BernieSanders reacts to the memes about his instantly iconic inauguration look.

@LateNightSeth / Twitter / Via Twitter: @LateNightSeth

“I was just sitting there, trying to keep warm, trying to pay attention to what was going on.”

Jonathan Ernst / Getty Images

But when Meyers showed Sanders a meme of him sitting with the characters from Sex and the City, he laughed and admitted: “I’ve seen ’em.”

Sanders also shouted out Jen Ellis, the Vermont-based teacher and supporter who gave him the iconic mittens over two years ago.

Jonathan Ernst / Getty Images

“She is a schoolteacher and a very, very nice person, and is somewhat overwhelmed by the kind of attention that’s being shown to her.”

Kevin Dietsch-Pool / Getty Images

As for what was in that envelope? “I’d love to tell you, Seth, but it’s top secret,” Sanders claimed.

Fair enough!

Greg Nash / Pool / Getty Images

Scroll through some of the best Bernie inauguration memes here and here and here.

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Dining News

Bernie Sanders Has Gifted the Internet a New Outdoor Dining Meme

Sen. Bernie Sanders arrived at the inauguration ceremony for President Joe Biden in an instantly iconic winter outfit that, in addition to screaming vintage Vermont chic, has given frequent outdoor diners a picture to share on social media with a caption that more or less says, “It me.”

Photos of Sanders, looking crotchety per usual in large brown-and-white mittens and a puffy beige coat, quickly spread on Twitter. Several people noticed that the combination of an isolated folding chair and an apparently chilly man in mittens reminded them of their experiences dining outdoors. Restaurants nationwide, of course, are relying on improvised patios built on streets and sidewalks — D.C. has one dedicated to Vice President Kamala Harris — to boost sales while the novel coronavirus leads officials to restrict capacity limits or shut down indoor dining altogether.

A meme was born (in front of Lady Gaga!), which was fitting because Sanders appeared to be wearing the same Burton parka he dons in another popular piece of internet fodder, a fundraising video in which he says, “I am once again asking for your financial support.”

The next time someone asks how dinner outside is going, direct them to this photo of Sanders observing the transition of power outside the U.S. Capitol.

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Bernie Sanders Admits Democrats Blocked COVID Relief For Americans (VIDEO)

Nancy Pelosi recently admitted that the hold-up of COVID relief over recent months was all about politics, making her one of the most evil human beings alive today.

Now Bernie Sanders has admitted the same thing, although he seems to believe it was a mistake to do so.

Remember that no one in Congress has missed a paycheck since this whole thing began.

Townhall reports:

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‘That’s Right’: Bernie Sanders Admits Democrats Blocked COVID Relief Bills

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) agreed with CNN host Jake Tapper on Monday when he said Democrats, particularly Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), were the ones who continually blocked meaningful COVID-19 relief bills.

“You talked about that 1.8 trillion dollar bill that the White House, Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, was working on with the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The Democrats walked away from that bill,” Tapper said.

“That’s right!” Sanders interjected.

“Because [Democrats] wanted 2.2 trillion and they walked away from 1.8 trillion. Was that a mistake?” Tapper asked.

“That’s what I’m saying! Exactly what I’m saying! Here was a proposal, much, much larger. Democrats said, no, not good enough and now we are prepared to accept a proposal which has, I think, $350 billion in new money and which has, we believe, I believe to the best of my knowledge, corporate immunity language as well.

Watch the video below:

Why is this the first time that we’ve heard Bernie Sanders talk about this on TV?

It might have been more helpful for him to say something months ago.

Cross posted from American Lookout.

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Bernie Sanders Is Angling To Be Biden’s Labor Secretary

When a candidate wins an election, it is typical that they reward the people that supported them with plum positions in the cabinet. Donald Trump made Jeff Sessions his Attorney General and made Ben Carson the head of Housing and Urban Development.

If Joe Biden is to win the election, he will have to fill multiple positions with competent people. And some people are reportedly trying to angle for jobs. According to a new report, one of these people is  Bernie Sanders.

A source close to the Vermont senator told the website that Sanders is interested in becoming the next Secretary of Labor. “ can confirm he’s trying to figure out how to land that role or something like it,” the source says. “He, personally, does have an interest in it.”

Faiz Shakir, who ran Sanders’ presidential campaign, said, “He’s 100 percent in Joe Biden’s court. We’ve had a good working relationship with the Biden team and I expect we’ll maintain that all the way through.”

Shakir continued, “It would be great to have a unity government that takes into account that progressives are a pretty healthy portion of the electorate. Heeding that would be good, but if Joe Biden wins, he rightly has a mandate to move in whatever direction he chooses.”

When Sanders himself was asked about the report, he did not confirm or deny it. He told Politico, “Right now I am focused on seeing that Biden is elected president. That’s what my main focus is.”

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Bernie Sanders Campaigns For Joe Biden In New Hampshire In Front Of A Very Small Crowd

Many people are speculating that Trump will win the state of New Hampshire this November. He came close to winning there in 2016 and support for him has grown.

Bernie Sanders campaigned for Joe Biden in New Hampshire this weekend and the crowd was unusually small for Bernie.

Like, really small.

Breitbart News reports:

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Tens Turn Out to See Bernie Sanders Campaign for Joe Biden in NH

A small crowd turned out to see Bernie Sanders campaign for Joe Biden in New Hampshire on Saturday.

Sanders was stumping for Biden in the town of Lebanon.

“Bernie Sanders takes the stage for a distanced rally for Joe Biden in Lebanon,” Adam Sexton of WMUR reported, posting a photo of a handful of people there to see the socialist senator:

But that photo was not taken from a deceptive angle. There were only tens of people who turned out.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party posted a video to Twitter revealing the paltry turnout:

Take a look below:

That is not a winning sized crowd.

Not even close.

Cross posted from American Lookout.

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‘Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ going live for DNC with Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders

“A Late Show with Stephen Colbert” will go live next week during the Democratic National Convention.

The show is doing virtual interview with guests, although Colbert returned to his studio offices this week.

On Monday, Susan Rice, who Joe Biden considered as a running mate, will be the guest. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) will be featured on Tuesday, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Wednesday. Hillary Clinton will guest on Thursday, the same night that Biden accepts the party’s nomination.

“A Late Show” also is planning to go live during the Republican convention the following week, with guests to be announced.

“It’s a technical nightmare and an emotional minefield,” Colbert quipped about the prospects of going live earlier this week.

Colbert announced on Monday that he was returning to his office in the Ed Sullivan Theater for the first time in five months.

“Tonight, after five months, I’m back in my office at the Ed Sullivan Building! Unrelated question: how long does desk drawer egg salad keep?” he wrote. On air, he said that was set up in a replica of his office four stories about.

Colbert also did segments from the conventions in 2016, including a stunt in which he briefly took the podium at the RNC in Cleveland.

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Breaking New

‘Nothing shocked me’: Bernie Sanders reflects on again falling short in his bid for the presidency

Now, as he takes a step back and reflects on his second failed bid for the White House, he remains proud of what he accomplished, but still believes there is a lot more work to do to bring more working class Americans into the political system and implement many of the progressive policy positions he has long advocated for.

“It’s hard,” Sanders said in an interview with CNN. “But we knew what we were doing, and nothing that happened really shocked me.”

“I think what we saw from Nevada on out was a cry the rooftops, from the political establishment, from the media that they wanted anybody but Bernie,” Sanders said. “My God, I don’t know how many articles there were about that. ‘We need anybody but Bernie’ and you know they ended up succeeding. And that’s that.”

He stayed in the race longer in 2016 and will end up earning fewer delegates this year than he did four years ago. But Sanders emerged as a front-runner this cycle, bouncing back after a heart attack in the fall, fundraising more than his rivals and winning over key endorsements from other progressive leaders. When Sanders won the popular vote in three of the first four primary contests, the nomination seemed within his grasp, but his hopes were dashed after Joe Biden’s victory in South Carolina.

Bernie Sanders endorses Joe Biden for president

The former vice president’s win there streamlined the establishment backlash to Sanders. Other moderate candidates dropped out and rallied around Biden, setting off a sweeping realignment of the contest that ultimately drowned Sanders, whose campaign was not prepared to weather a storm it so confidently predicted. And while Sanders had increased turnout and enjoyed strong support from young voters, their impact was not nearly what he and his campaign predicted.

While many of Sanders’ supporters were ready to claim the nomination after his victory in Nevada, the senator himself understood the challenges he faced.

In the aftermath of Sanders ending his bid, there has been a rigorous debate about the way the Sanders campaign approached Biden. Some forces in the Sanders world thought he should have been more aggressive in laying out the differences between the two candidates. But Sanders was insistent that any distinctions that were drawn not come at the expense of the personal relationship between the two men, one built while they were colleagues in the Senate. It is a decision Sanders does not regret – and he argues those lodging complaints likely don’t know the whole story.

“I think probably, what you’re going to find for the next five years is half of America was intimately involved in my campaign,” Sanders joked. “Look, there are difference in tactics, but I don’t think it was the tactics ended up helping us lose.”

Since ending his campaign a week ago, Sanders has thrown his support behind Biden and is left to help convince his passionate base of supporters to get behind the former vice president’s challenge to Donald Trump.

“Joe and I have our disagreements for sure. Joe is a decent guy and I think he is more than willing now to sit down, and we’ll listen to those people that supported him in the past, hear what they have to say and tried to address their concerns,” Sanders said.

He recognizes that Biden will have some work to do to win over progressive supporters, but Sanders argues by November, given the choices in front of them, most will come around.

“I think most people will wake up in the morning and say, ‘ OK, what will role will I play now? Is it acceptable for me to sit on my hands and allow the possibilities? Do I allow the more dangerous president in modern American history to get reelected or do I do everything that I can to defeat Trump while at the same time try to move the Biden campaign and his administration into his progressive position as possible?'” Sanders said. “And I think the overwhelming majority of the American people will conclude yes.”

The two sides are in the process of forming six policy task forces that will feature leading experts that supported both candidates. They will release a list of policy proposals that will be a part of the Biden campaign’s pitch to voters.

Sanders said he is prepared to stay engaged. He feels that, in many ways, his progressive coalition has won the argument. Many of the big issues he ran on in 2016, from single-payer health care to free college tuition, enjoy far greater levels of popular support now. He also has won the praise of many mainstream Democrats.

In his endorsement of Biden’s campaign, former President Barack Obama described Sanders as “an American original.” Sanders said the embrace by figures like Obama serves as a recognition of where he believes American politics are headed.

“If he (Obama) were running for president today, he would not be saying what he said in 2008 because the world has significantly changed and political consciousness has changed,” Sanders said. “And any good politician — Obama and Biden they’re both very good politicians — understand that you’ve got to go where the people are.”

What discourages Sanders, though, is that many of the average Americans who would benefit the most from progressive policies like guaranteed health care, a higher minimum wage or free college tuition are still not actively involved in the political process. Sanders believes it is not because they don’t exist, but because they still don’t feel the system works for them.

“We as a nation have the lowest voter turnout of almost any major country on earth. I think it is very difficult to get people to vote when they believe the system is totally rigged against them and that they’re vote does not make a difference. I’ve heard that a million times and that’s tough,” Sanders said. “But that is exactly what has to be done.”

There is one role that, moving forward, he does not expect to play again: candidate for President.

“No one could predict the future, but I think it is fair to say I will not be running for president again,” Sanders said. “I guess.”

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