With Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial in the Senate officially underway, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is once again attempting to shift blame away from the former president. On Wednesday, Graham — who previously called the impeachment an “unconstitutional” act of “vengeance” — told reporters that there is someone else, actually, who is at fault for the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol: law enforcement.
“I got mad. I mean, these police officers had every right to use deadly force. They should have used it,” he said, according to NBC News. “The people in charge of securing the Capitol let the country down.” He also said that, after watching new, graphic footage of the attack, he believes there will be “more votes for acquittal.”
Graham’s comments came after Democratic impeachment managers unveiled video footage from security cameras and dispatches from the police. One clip showed Senator Chuck Schumer trying to escape the riot with his security detail, only to turn around and race in the other direction after realizing he was heading toward the attackers. In another, officer Eugene Goodman warned Senator Mitt Romney about the danger. In other audio clips, officers narrated the events of the attack. “They’re throwing metal poles at us,” someone says in one recording.
The Capitol police have taken responsibility for their role in the attack, with acting chief Yogananda D. Pittman acknowledging that law enforcement was unprepared to deal with the hordes of invaders. “By Jan. 4, the department knew that the Jan. 6 event would not be like any of the previous protests held in 2020,” Pittman said. “We knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress would be the target.”
Both officers and rioters were hurt and killed during the insurrection. Two members of the police died, and one rioter was shot and killed by an officer as she tried to forcefully climb through a broken window into the Speaker’s lobby. But all of these clashes and deaths were a direct result of Trump’s incessant claims that the 2020 election was “stolen,” and that his supporters should “fight like hell,” “make your voices heard,” and take to the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Graham, however, has refused to put the onus on Trump. Also on Wednesday, he accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — one of the attack’s primary targets — of playing a part in the attempted coup, for some reason. “Here’s what I want to know. What did Nancy Pelosi know and when did she know it?” he asked on Fox News’ Hannity show. If this was widely known by the FBI and Capitol Hill police that people were planning to come to Washington before the 6th to create violence, I want to know, did she know about that?”
Graham has proven time and time again that he’s willing to go to lengths to defend Trump’s actions — even, in an ironic twist, turning against police. Although he seemed to distance himself from Trump last month, saying that “enough is enough,” he quickly backpedaled as the impeachment process began. Graham threatened Democrats against calling witnesses, slammed his Republican colleagues in favor of the impeachment, and even advised Trump as he formed his legal team. When it comes to Graham taking a real stand against fascism, evidently, enough is not actually enough.