Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) was badgered on an Amtrak ride Monday about his position on calling for a cease-fire in Gaza by a passenger who claimed to be a journalist and who repeatedly ignored the senator’s requests to leave him alone.
In a video posted Monday on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Andrew Maté, who works for controversial news site The Grayzone, asked Coons nearly a dozen times why he would not call for a cease-fire, as Coons repeatedly told him to “please stop talking to me.”
Sitting directly across from Coons in what they both indicated was the designated “quiet car” of the Amtrak train, Maté began filming as Coons appeared to be working on his device.
“Senator, I’m sorry to put you on the spot, but why not call for a cease-fire in Gaza?” Maté asked.
Coons appeared surprised at the question and briefly glanced over his shoulder, before asking him, “Who are you?”
Maté introduced himself briefly, and Coons shook his head and began to say, “I’m not” then saying, “This is a quiet car. You’re not supposed to be talking to me.”
“I know it’s a quiet car, and I apologize for abusing [it]. I understand, but children are dying. Children are dying, sir. More than 46, why not call for a cease-fire? They’re being killed with our weapons. U.S. weapons are killing kids in Gaza.”
Coons asked again for him to identify himself. When he did, Coons replied, “Nice to meet you, Aaron. Please stop talking to me.”
“Likewise,” Maté interrupted to say, then adding, “I’m sorry, sir, it’s of dire importance.”
“Aaron, please stop. Please stop. Aaron, you’re bothering me and everyone else around,” Coons said, as Aaron continued to pester him about calling for a cease-fire.
The back-and-forth continued, with Coons repeatedly asking Maté to stop and Maté refusing to do so.
“Please stop. I’m asking you to stop. This is not an appropriate place for you to interview me. You’re bothering everyone else around us,” Coons said, adding, “I’m not going to call for a cease-fire. I strongly support humanitarian pauses. I’ve urged the Israeli government to target their campaign against Hamas, but you need to stop. “
“Please stop or I’m going to have you thrown off this train. Please stop doing this. You’ve asked me 10 times. You’re getting as professional, measured and appropriate an answer out of me as you can. This is not professional journalism. Please get up and leave now.”
Maté still was not satisfied with that response and continued pressing Coons.
When Coons slammed Hamas’s attack on Israel on Oct. 7, Maté took issue with parts of his argument as well. Maté asked again about a cease-fire, prompting Coons to eventually get up.
Calls for a cease-fire have been rising in the United States, with demonstrations taking place throughout the country. Threats to lawmakers have also been on the rise in the last couple years.
The Grayzone has been criticized for publishing pro-Russia news and also downplaying the human rights violations of the Chinese government on the Uyghur people.
Coons’s office said in a a statement, “As Senator Coons said this afternoon, he believes the whole world should unite in opposition to terrorism following Hamas’ massacre of Israeli civilians on October 7. While Senator Coons does not support a [cease-fire,] he has repeatedly made clear that he supports humanitarian pauses to allow for assistance deliveries to Gaza, including hospitals, and has urged the Israeli government to target their campaign against Hamas. He also has repeatedly pushed for the swift release of the hostages Hamas continues to hold.”
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