Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) reportedly instructed the Senate sergeant-at-arms to retake the Senate chamber during the January 6 riot by using the guns they were given, according to The Washington Post.
“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,” The Washington Post reported. “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 next day, Graham said that he was “embarrassed and disgusted” by the riot 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 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.”
As Graham also pointed out during his speech, the response from Republicans who condemned the riots marked a stark contrast from the Democrats who refused to condemn the extremists that spent the second half of 2020 rioting in major cities across the country.