“What are you doing? Take back the Senate! You’ve got guns. Use them,” Graham told Capitol police, according to an extensive report from the Washington Post, which described Graham as “irate” that senators were forced to leave their chambers during the storming of the Capitol.
“We give you guns for a reason,” he said. “Use them.” The Washington Post stated the quotes were based on an unnamed Republican senator with knowledge of the incident.
Graham’s office confirmed the quotes are “accurate” in a statement to Fox News on Monday.
“Graham was quite clear on this point, noting that the backpacks and other items brought into the Capitol could have contained bombs and explosives. The damage could have been much, much worse,” Graham’s communications director, Kevin Bishop, said.
Graham also called Ivanka Trump, former President Donald Trump’s oldest daughter, multiple times and gave suggestions on what the then-president should say, according to the report.
“You need to get these people out of here,” he 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.”
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, listens during a hearing looking into the budget estimates for National Institute of Health (NIH) and the state of medical research on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on May 26, 2021. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) ((Photo by Stefani Reynolds / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images))
Graham has also long slammed the storming of the Capitol, saying on Jan. 7 that “warning shots” and “lethal force should have been used once they’d penetrated the seat of government.”
FILE – In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. U.S. Capitol Police officers who were attacked and beaten during the Capitol riot filed a lawsuit Thursday, Aug. 26, against former President Donald Trump, his allies and members of far-right extremist groups, accusing them of intentionally sending insurrectionists to disrupt the congressional certification of the election in January. ((AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File))
“Yesterday they could have blown the building up. They could have killed us all,” he said at the time. “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’d penetrated the seat of government. Those backpacks could have had bombs chemical agents, weapons. We dodged a major bullet yesterday.”
He also pointed to the rioting at the courthouse in Portland, Oregon, in 2020, saying violence “gets worse” if such behavior is not addressed and managed by the legal system and local leaders.
“We’ve lost our will and our determination to stand up for law and order. When you let a courthouse be attacked and nobody gets prosecuted, the next thing you know, it gets worse. To all the mayors out there who have discord and unlawful behavior in your city, get on top of it,” he said.
Trump called out Graham, as well as Sen. Mike Lee, in September as “unwilling to fight for the presidency of the United States,” after reports that Graham was “unpersuaded” by Trump’s claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Graham, however, has continued supporting a potential 2024 presidential run by Trump.
FILE – In this Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump arrives on the South Lawn of the White House, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
“I don’t think Trump is listening,” Graham said at the Michigan Republican Party’s leadership conference at the end of September. “He might be. I hope President Trump runs again.”