At 7:01 p.m., in the midst of a series of House votes, South Carolina Republican Mark Sanford led his colleagues in observing a moment of silence for the nine victims killed June 17 in the Charleston church massacre.
Sanford, a former governor of the state, was joined on the floor by fellow South Carolina Republicans Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham, who slipped over from the Senate after business had adjourned for the day.
"The family members of the victims also did the unthinkable," Sanford said, addressing the House chamber. "I say that because there at the bond hearing, they did the unimaginable, the incomprehensible, in — I guess showing human grace it's a reflection of God's grace — in what's talked about in Romans in not repaying evil with evil but repaying evil with good, because at the bond hearing the first family comes up and they say, 'I'm in incomprehensible pain, but I forgive you.' Next family comes up, 'I'm in incredible pain, but I forgive you.' And those were the words that were repeated by each of the nine families: 'I forgive you, I forgive you and I forgive you.'"
House Holds Moment of Silence for Charleston Shooting Victims
The names of all nine victims were read on the floor, a gesture some in Congress say they would like to see followed by action that might stop another mass shooting. The moment of silence also followed calls from lawmakers over the past two days to remove , or at least rethink, the placement of Confederate statues and flags on Capitol Hill and at state capitols.
Earlier Tuesday, Scott called the shooting the "worst atrocity " in South Carolina's history, and Speaker John A. Boehner later announced he would lead a bipartisan delegation to Charleston on Friday to attend the funerals.
Tim Scott: Charleston Shooting 'Worst Atrocity in State's History'