GOP Lawmaker Told Officers To Use Guns On 1/6 Protestors

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File

The 1/6 protests that kicked off 2021 weren’t exactly the high point of the year. After all, it managed to give some the impression that elections don’t actually matter to a large portion of the American population, especially those who can’t accept that not everyone actually believes it was a fair election.

Regardless, it happened, and then the media lost their ever-loving minds, calling it an insurrection when it was no such thing. It was more a case of a bunch of cosplayers walked into a lightly protected building, wandered around for a bit, then went home.

Despite that, at least one Republican lawmaker wanted Capitol Police to use their weapons on the protestors.

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.

Now, let’s understand that I don’t actually approve of how the 1/6 protests went down. It’s one thing to have a rally over what you believe to be a stolen election. That’s what free speech is for.

Yet when they turned on the Capitol and forced their way in, they crossed a line for me. I remember watching it, worried if this was going to be an insurrection.

Luckily, pretty much everyone ended up going home, which was as it should have been since there’s no evidence any of the protestors were armed. Despite that, one protestor, Ashli Babbit, was killed by Capitol Police despite being unarmed.

But what about Graham?

I’ve never been a particular fan of the South Carolina senator. I keep hoping he’ll get beaten in a primary, but it hasn’t happened yet, unfortunately.

That said, I don’t know that I can’t understand his comments. He was evacuating the United States Capitol because of an angry mob–and let’s be honest, the 1/6 protest became an angry mob when it left the initial protest area–and so he reacted the way a lot of us would have in a similar situation.

What galls me is how many people seem willing to let this slide but were absolutely outraged when anyone suggested using armed troops to quell last summer’s riots. Those riots destroyed billions in property and cost plenty of lives. January 6th had a guy cosplaying as a member of the Loyal Order of the Water Buffalo.

Very different situations, if you ask me.

I’m not saying Graham wasn’t out of line, though. Yes, the mob was coming into the building, but as there didn’t seem to be any indication of actual violence, suggesting they be shot was more than a little out of line. I understand where he was coming from, that doesn’t actually excuse it.

Just my take on it.

Dec 08, 2021 12:30 PM ET