Yesterday we said goodbye to 45 and hello to 46. And although the 2021 inauguration of President Joe Biden necessitated stricter security measures and a much smaller crowd than years past, some things remained the same: pictures still were taken, fashion was still discussed, celebrities still performed, and former presidents, first ladies and prominent political figures still attended the swearing in ceremony at the US Capital. But with so many people sitting at home watching, the speed with which one photo made the rounds on Twitter surely broke a record.
DC-based photojournalist Brendan Smialowski snapped an image of Senator Bernie Sanders sitting on the bleachers on Capitol Hill before Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president. Adorned with oversized wool homemade mittens (made by a teacher in Vermont), a manilla envelope, a mask and his now iconic brown winter coat, the internet quickly did its thing with the image of a socially distanced Bernie.
For anyone unfamiliar with *the* coat, another image of Bernie blew up and quickly became known as the “I am once again asking you” meme when it was taken from a campaign video in December 2019.
And once again, on January 20th celebrating the inauguration, he was wearing the same coat. Maybe it seems like low hanging fruit, but the temptation was just too much for enthusiastic meme fans and jokesters on the internet salivating for new content. From jokes about selling brand merchandise to Bernie sitting in the Game of Thrones iron throne and embedded in classic paintings, movie sets, and the streets of NYC, the meme once again proved it’s here to stay — and can make appearances even in some of the most sacred ceremonies.
Below, we’re sharing a few of our favorites.
While often quite funny and lighthearted, there really is something to be said for the way a viral internet meme can breathe new life into an image.
Have a favorite inauguration meme or moment of your own? Share it below!
Cover image created by Jeremy Berkowitz.