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How Did Joe Biden’s Campaign Spend Over $10,000 on Ice Cream?

It was Jeni’s Splendid, for starters

Saul Loeb/Getty Images

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has spent more than $10,000 on ice cream during his campaign for the White House so far, according to Federal Election Commission data. That’s Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, to be precise.

Biden has professed his love for ice cream in the past, declaring in 2016, “My name is Joe Biden and I love ice cream.” It’s the former Vice President’s vice of choice: “I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. But I eat a lot of ice cream,” he added in separate 2016 remarks.

But the ice cream campaign expenditures aren’t what some might think. They’re not to feed a habit of his own, but purchased instead as gifts to campaign donors. Based on the amounts, mostly $70 to $77 increments, that could be about five pints per order. Such gifts are permissible provided they’re of “nominal value,” according to FEC guidelines.

Biden’s choice of brand — Jeni’s — is probably a political one, too. James Beard Award-winning founder Jeni Britton Bauer is a prominent Biden backer. In 2016, the then-vice president even visited Jeni’s headquarters in Columbus, Ohio to hold a press conference about wages.

In a history of how fancy ice cream brands conquered the freezer aisle, Eater observed that Jeni’s was a foundational company — the first to cross the $10-per-pint threshold with flavors like sweet curry, basil honey pine nut, and salted caramel. And Jeni’s home state, Ohio, is — not coincidentally — an important swing state with voters Biden hopes to reach.

But that’s probably where the coincidences stop, though the conservative Washington Examiner points out that Jeni’s is also a favorite brand of House Majority leader Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi recently showed off her Jeni’s-stuffed freezer on The Late Late Show With James Corden. Is bougie ice cream the “arugula-gate” of 2020? For the sake of our collective mental health, let’s hope not.