The Newest Bernie Sanders Meme Pokes Fun At Pandemic Dining

The inauguration of President Joe Biden on Jan. 20, 2021, will go down in history for many reasons. Biden and other officials acknowledged the first female, Black, and South Asian vice president, and the outgoing president was a no-show at his successor's swearing-in ceremony for the first time in 152 years (via Time). But not every also-ran in the 2020 presidential elections was such a sore loser that they ducked out of Biden and Kamala Harris' big day.

Bernie Sanders, the early front-runner in the Democratic primaries who eventually lost to Biden, was among the dignitaries seated behind the new president during the event. Unless they were speaking, pretty much everyone at the inauguration was wearing face masks, and chairs were spaced to allow for proper social distancing to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. When the cameras captured images of Sanders, after he had found his seat, they showed a face-masked man sitting isolated in a simple folding chair, in a heavy parka and oversized mittens made from old wool sweaters by a Vermont schoolteacher (via The Cut). 

This image of the senator instantly went viral, and a new Bernie Sanders meme was born. A lot of people found this moment captured on camera to be relatable, and for some of those people, it was because they had braved wintertime outdoor dining during the pandemic.

Grumpy Bernie Sanders looks like an outdoor diner having no fun

Eater DC collected some of the outdoor dining-related Sanders memes they found on Twitter. They were all variations on one idea: Outdoor dining in freezing temperatures is not pleasant. For the record, the temperature in Washington during the inauguration was a not-too-bad 42 degrees Fahrenheit, but a blustery wind made it feel like 33 — so, mitten weather after all (via The Washington Post.)

Political journalist Gideon Resnick tweeted the instantly iconic Sanders photo with the line, "Me enjoying an outdoor dining experience." Conor Ryan, a sports reporter from frigid Boston, tweeted a split-screen photograph showing a stock image of a cozy outdoor dining experience on one side, and Sanders in his Inauguration Day chair on the other. His caption: "Outdoor dining expectations vs. outdoor dining in real life."

Twitter user Kevin Finnerty's funny meme also deserves recognition. Finnerty populates his Twitter feed mostly with Sopranos memes, and on Inauguration Day he cut out the image of Sanders, his mittened arms crossed, at a table outside an Italian restaurant seated across from Sopranos wise guy "Paulie Walnuts" (via HBO).

Finnerty's followers were impressed. Twitter user @DominickTrezza commented simply, "This is it."