Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) was pestered with an array of questions by a journalist as he was traveling on an Amtrak train.
The journalist, who identified himself as Aaron Mate, informed Coons that he works with The Grayzone, a left-leaning independent news website, according to a video posted to X, formerly known as Twitter.
“Senator, I’m sorry to put you on the spot, but why not call for a ceasefire in Gaza?” Mate says as he begins filming from directly opposite Coon’s seat in what is referenced as the “quiet car.”
“Who are you?” Coons asks him, appearing to look confused.
Sen. @ChrisCoons sat across from me on the train. With Israel using US weapons to kill thousands of Palestinian civilians, including 4600+ children, I asked him why he refuses to call for a ceasefire: pic.twitter.com/uW7oBBX0Il
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) November 13, 2023
After Mate identifies himself, Coons tells him, “This is a quiet car. You’re not supposed to be talking to me.”
“I know it’s a quiet car and I apologize,” Mate acknowledges as Coons appears to look around the train for someone to help him. “I understand, but children are dying. Children are dying, sir. More than……why not call for a ceasefire? They’re being killed with our weapons. U.S. weapons are killing kids in Gaza.
Coons once again asks Mate who he is, to which he once again tells the senator his name and that he works as a journalist.
“Nice to meet you, Aaron,” Coons tells Mate, to which Mate says, “likewise.”
Mate is then instructed by Coons to “please stop talking” to him. After this request is made, Mate continues to try to question the senator.
“Please stop. Aaron, you’re bothering me and everyone else around here,” Coons tells him.
When Mate continues to ask him questions about why he does not call for a ceasefire in Gaza, Coons once again asks him to “stop” before asking an Amtrak employee on the train for “help.”
As Mate once again tries to question Coons, the senator tells him, “Please stop. Stop. I’m asking you to stop. This is not an appropriate place for you to interview me. You’re bothering everyone else around. How did you get this seat?” Mate informs him that he bought the seat.
Once again Mate proceeds to ask Coons about a ceasefire to which he says, “You’ve already asked me five times. I’m not going to call for a ceasefire, I strongly support humanitarian pauses, I’ve urged the Israeli government to target their campaign against Hamas. But, you need to stop.”
“Do you think the campaign is targeted against Hamas when civilians are being massacred? When babies in incubators are dying?”
“Please stop or I’m going to have you thrown off this train,” Coons informs the journalist. “Please stop doing this. You’ve asked me ten times. You’re getting as professional, measured, appropriate answer out of me as you can. This is not professional journalism, please get up and leave now.”
Mate proceeds to tell the senator he doesn’t believe that “it’s humane to be massacring kids, that’s the problem” to which Coons agrees and tells him, “Hamas massacred 1,400 Israeli civilians. The whole world should unite in opposition to terrorism.”
The encounter between the two ends with Coons leaving his seat and Mate once again asks him why he doesn’t call for a ceasefire.
In a separate post on X, Mate explains that he was asked to “change seats” or he would be thrown off the train. Mate explains that he “complied” and switched seats.
After questioning Sen. Coons about his support for Israeli massacres in Gaza, I was asked to move to a different seat. I complied. About 30 mins later, he walked by me. We did not exchange words. At the next stop, in Philadelphia, I was removed from the train. I assume this was… pic.twitter.com/Odbr36CJJx
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) November 13, 2023
After Mate had switched seats, Coons reportedly walked by the journalist roughly 30 minutes later. When the train arrived in Philadelphia, Mate was “taken off the train by police” and informed that he had been “thrown off by the conductor.”
“I’m assuming at the request of Senator Coons,” Mate says. “So, Senator Coons if it makes you feel better to have me removed from a train because I bothered you, I understand. It’s not pleasant to be questioned.”
Since Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7, which left more than 1,400 people dead and more than 240 people taken as hostages, Israel declared war on Hamas.
Calls for a ceasefire have increased and President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have brought up the idea of humanitarian pauses to allow for the release of more hostages.
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