As per tradition, Vice President Mike Pence swore in Jones, 63, who becomes the Yellowhammer State’s first Democratic senator in 25 years. Jones’ presence also shrinks the GOP Senate majority to 51-49, which many have interpreted as a harbinger for midterm elections this fall.
The photo is, of course, just one of many that were shot at the ceremony. While it’s impossible to know what Carson was really thinking at the time, the image appears to capture him giving Pence a contemptuous look.
Given Pence’s history of supporting anti-LGBTQ legislation, Twitter and Facebook users have been happy to chime in with amusing captions of their own.
Carson, who works as a zookeeper in Colorado, stoked the flames of internet speculation himself when he posted the photo to his own Instagram account late Wednesday, accompanied with the hashtag #nocaptionneeded.
Though it’s not visible in the picture, Carson also donned a rainbow flower boutonniere given to him by LGBTQ advocacy group DCHomos for the occasion.
After his father’s Dec. 12 victory, Carson confirmed to The Advocate that he identifies as gay. The interview followed a flurry of blog posts declaring him Sen. Jones’ “sexy son” and a “hottie zookeeper” alongside shirtless vacation photos and gym selfies culled from his Instagram account.
“I am obviously thrilled with my dad’s victory,” the 22-year-old, who came out to his parents in 2015, said at the time. “We have been overwhelmed by the support of so many people that made this happen. Alabama made a really big statement that unity wins out. I couldn’t be prouder of him or my home state!”