A report published over the weekend by The Washington Post revealed that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told the Senate sergeant-at-arms to retake the Senate chamber during the January 6 riot by using the guns that they were issued to protect Senators.
The Washington Post reported:
The Senate and House leaders also had been evacuated by Capitol Police and taken to an undisclosed location, but many lawmakers remained in their chambers for a few minutes before they were led to safety in the Hart Senate Office Building. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham was irate that senators were forced to flee their own chamber. He yelled at the Senate sergeant-at-arms. “What are you doing? Take back the Senate! You’ve got guns. Use them.” The South Carolina senator was adamant. “We give you guns for a reason,” he repeated. “Use them.”
The revelation was made in the second part of The Washington Post’s three-part investigation into the January 6 riot. The second part of the investigation was titled, “Bloodshed.”
Graham’s office later confirmed that the quotes were “accurate” in a statement to Fox News.
“Graham was quite clear on this point, noting that the backpacks and other items brought into the Capitol could have contained bombs and explosives,” Kevin Bishop, Graham’s communications director, said. “The damage could have been much, much worse.”
Graham also reportedly called Trump’s older daughter, Ivanka Trump, and gave her suggestions for what needed to happen as the chaos was unfolding.
“You need to get these people out of here,” Graham reportedly told her. “This thing is going south. This is not good. You’re going to have to tell these people to stand down. Stand down.”
The day after the January 6 riot, Graham said that he was “embarrassed and disgusted” by the events of that day and that Sergeant of Arms of the Senate should resign.
“Anyone in charge of defending the Capitol failed in their duties,” Graham said. “If they would have been in the military, they had been relieved of their commands and most likely court-martialed. So the first thing that has to happen is to hold those accountable for failing to defend the nation’s Capitol while the Congress was in session. Why am I worried? It would have been so easy for a terrorist organization to infiltrate this movement.”
“Yesterday, they could have blown the building up. They could have killed us all. They could have destroyed the government,” Graham said. “People coming through the windows had backpacks as big as my desk on the Senate. They should have been challenged. Warning shots should have been fired and lethal force should have been used once they penetrated the seat of government. Those backpacks could have had bombs, chemical agents, weapons. We dodged a major bullet yesterday.”
During his remarks on January 7, Graham hit the Democrat Party for not calling out extremists on their side of the aisle who had rioted and caused chaos in major cities across the country in the previous year.