How could Sen. Lindsey Graham even suggest that the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol might someday become a historical footnote?
Speaking to The State reporter Caitlin Byrd, Graham said Monday that somehow the breach of the seat of our beloved, fragile democracy, and former President Donald Trump’s role in spreading the Big Lie that prompted it, would be somewhat forgotten or minimized if Republicans regain control of the House and Senate in 2022.
“That won’t be his legacy,” Graham said of Trump in the interview. “That won’t be his legacy if we win in 2022. If we lose in 2022, then Jan. 6 becomes his legacy.”
Whatever happens in 2022, we will not forget the day the world watched in horror as Americans tried to stop the certification of our election and ultimately the peaceful transfer of power that has distinguished this nation for hundreds of years.
We will not forget watching from our living rooms and offices that Wednesday as people literally scaled the Capitol walls, broke windows, assaulted police officers, chanted “hang Mike Pence,” and desecrated a place that has long been a symbol of what a democracy can be.
If you want a reminder of how terrible the day truly was, visit the FBI website, which has a separate section labeled U.S. Capitol Violence.
It features video after video of graphic violence as crowds forced their way into the building. You can see the names of each of those charged and the string of criminal charges they face.
The website notes, “In the eight months since Jan. 6, more than 600 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including at least 185 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.”
Graham seems to have forgotten that he and his fellow senators fled for safety that day. None of them stuck around to greet the so-called “tourists” whose entry into the building delayed certification of the election of President Joe Biden.
One of those tourists, Jason Dolan of Florida, recently pleaded guilty to “conspiring with intent to deliberately obstruct election certification.”
A press release on his guilty plea recounts the day’s events.
“Dolan stood at the top of the steps on the east side of the Capitol and joined some co-conspirators who had walked up in a ‘stack’ formation, with each person keeping a hand on the shoulder of the person in front. Around 2:40 p.m., Dolan was present on the plaza outside the east Rotunda doors where some co-conspirators and other individuals pushed against the USCP officers defending the building, eventually forcing the doors open. The doors were significantly damaged, and Dolan unlawfully entered the building.”
It continues, “According to his plea, at the time Dolan entered the building, he believed that he and the co-conspirators were trying to obstruct, influence and impede an official proceeding by stopping or delaying the certification of the electoral college vote.”
Hours after the breach, when Congress reconvened, Graham spoke passionately about the importance of certifying the election and rejected the idea that Pence or anyone had the Constitutional authority to stop the democratic process.
“If you’re a conservative, this is the most offensive concept in the world that a single person could disenfranchise 155 million people,” Graham said of the suggestion that Vice President Mike Pence could reject certification of the vote totals.
When Byrd asked Graham why he wants to support a figure who has openly sought to undermine our democratic process, Graham said Trump was a good president whose policies “will stand the test of time.”
But Graham said he would encourage Trump to look forward.
We, as a nation, however, can only look forward if we remember the events of Jan. 6 and hold those responsible accountable.