By now you’ve likely seen countless memes of Independent Vermont Senator and former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wearing those unique sweater-knit mittens and sitting cross-legged at President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
It turns out that Jen Ellis, a lesbian mother and Vermont school teacher, made the “swittens,” as the large, hand-weaved wool mittens have been called, according to LGBTQ Nation. Ellis made them as a gift for people who worked at her daughter’s preschool about two years ago, including for the preschool’s owner Liza Driscoll, who is also Sanders’ daughter-in-law.
Ellis made an extra pair for Driscoll to give to Sanders, and those are the pair that America has now seen on TV and in countless memes.
Bernie’s mittens are made by Jen Ellis, a teacher from Essex Junction, Vt. She gave them to him 2+ years ago and was surprised when he began wearing them on the campaign trail. They are made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles. pic.twitter.com/ErLr29lY2t
— Ruby Cramer (@rubycramer) January 20, 2021
Despite receiving requests to make more of the now-iconic mittens, Ellis says she won’t be quitting her day job to make them full-time; she also said you can buy plenty like them on the crafted goods website Etsy.
“I’ve tried not to let all of the mitten business overshadow the gloriousness of sitting with my five-year-old daughter and my partner and watching the first woman be sworn in as vice president. That’s amazing,” she said.
Sanders has begun producing t-shirts with the image of himself wearing the mittens to sell with all proceeds benefitting charity.
“In Vermont, we dress warm, we know something about the cold,” Sanders told Gayle King in a post-inauguration interview. “And we’re not so concerned about good fashion. We want to keep warm. And that’s what I did today.”
He said of the numerous memes of his gloves, “It makes people aware that we make good mittens in Vermont.” He also said of Ellis, “The woman who made the mittens … she is a schoolteacher [and] is a very very nice person, and she’s been somewhat overwhelmed by the kind of attention that is being shown to her mittens.”
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Revealed: Kayleigh McEnany Called Biden a ‘Man of the People’ Who Connects Better With the ‘Middle Class’ Than Trump
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany is a loyal mouthpiece for President Donald Trump, both in presidential policy and against his political opponents in the election campaign. She has echoed Trump’s attacks on Joe Biden, calling him a “radical socialist” and using monikers like “Sleepy.”
But on Monday, CNN unearthed audio of McEnany from 2015 during an interview on New York AM970, in which she offered a very different view.
“I think the Republicans run into a problem if it is Joe Biden and if it is maybe a Trump on the other side,” said McEnany. “Because Joe Biden, one of the things he is remarkable at is really kind of being a man of the people and resonating with middle class voters. Feeling like — coming off as human. His gaffes — as much as we make fun of them — to a certain extent they make him look human. So not, since he’s likable.”
She added that she believed Trump would probably have an easier time against Biden than Hillary Clinton, who ended up being his opponent that year, but she added that if Biden were to run against Trump, “I think the juxtaposition of kind of the man of the people and kind of this tycoon, is a problem.”
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