Senate

Graham told officers on Jan. 6 to use their guns on rioters: report

As lawmakers were being evacuated from the Capitol on Jan. 6, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reportedly told the Senate sergeant-at-arms to use guns to quell the people who had breached the building.

According to a long-form piece published by The Washington Post on Sunday, the Republican senator was furious that lawmakers were being forced to evacuate and yelled at the Senate sergeant-at-arms, “What are you doing? Take back the Senate! You’ve got guns. Use them.”

“We give you guns for a reason,” Graham reportedly continued. “Use them.”

According to the Post’s report, Graham also called former President Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, giving her suggestions on what her father should say to appeal to the rioters to calm down and vacate the Capitol.

“You need to get these people out of here,” Graham reportedly said to Ivanka Trump over the phone. “This thing is going south. This is not good. You’re going to have to tell these people to stand down. Stand down.”

The South Carolina senator was reportedly enraged by former President Trump’s subsequent video message to the rioters, in which he said, “We have to have peace. So go home. We love you, you’re very special.”

A spokesperson for Graham’s office said on Monday that the Post’s reporting was “nothing new,” pointing to similar statements the senator made following the attack.

Graham lambasted the apparent security failures that took place at the Capitol on Jan. 6, telling reporters afterward that he was “embarrassed” and “disgusted” that rioters had been able to breach the building.

“They could have blown the building up. They could have killed us all. They could’ve destroyed the government,” Graham said to reporters one day after the breach. “Lethal force should have been used. … We dodged a major bullet. If this is not a wake-up call I don’t know what is.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) also noted that Graham “screamed” at the Senate sergeant-at-arms during the attack for not doing “enough” while U.S. senators were sheltering in place.

“I heard when the 75 senators were confined in a room with about 75 staff people, Lindsey Graham with his mask off started screaming at one of the officers — I think it was one of the captains — saying, ‘How come you didn’t protect us? It’s doing your job,’” Brown told MSNBC’s Ari Melber about one week after the attack.

“He was screaming at an officer,” said Brown. “He had his mask off screaming at this officer from 5 feet away — I was maybe 10 feet on the other side — that the officer, the police, didn’t do enough to protect us.”

Graham was among the most vocal Republican lawmakers to decry the insurrection and to tie Trump to the incident, though he ultimately did not vote to convict the former president in his second impeachment trial.

On the day of the attack, Graham called for the rioters to be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law” and agreed with then-President-elect Biden that the breach had been an “insurrection.”

“Those who made this attack on our government need to be identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Graham tweeted on Jan. 6 amidst the attack. “Their actions are repugnant to democracy.”

–Updated at 3:31 p.m.

Tags Capitol breach Donald Trump Ivanka Trump Jan. 6 Capitol attack Joe Biden Lindsey Graham Senate sergeant-at-arms Sherrod Brown

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