Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) faced a contentious encounter with journalist Aaron Mate, known for his critical stance on Israel, during a train ride. The incident, captured on video, unfolded in the quiet car of an Amtrak train when Mate questioned Coons about his reluctance to call for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas conflict. Coons, visibly perturbed, insisted that the interaction was inappropriate for the quiet car, asking Mate to refrain from talking to him.
In response to Mate’s persistence on the issue, Coons eventually explained his position on the conflict. Despite acknowledging the deaths of children in Gaza, Coons declined to call for a cease-fire, emphasizing his support for humanitarian pauses and urging the Israeli government to target their campaign against Hamas.
The exchange grew increasingly tense as Coons sought assistance from an Amtrak employee, expressing his annoyance and claiming that Mate was disrupting his work and bothering fellow passengers. Despite Coons’ repeated requests for Mate to cease questioning him, the journalist continued to press the senator on his stance.
Towards the end of the interaction, Coons issued a threat to have Mate removed from the train, stating, “Aaron, please stop or I’m gonna have you thrown off this train.” Following this, Coons left his seat, concluding the nearly three-minute exchange.
After the encounter, Mate claimed in a subsequent social media post that he was removed from the train at the next stop, speculating that it was done at Senator Coons’ request. The journalist has a history of critical views on Israel, and his media outlet, The Grayzone, has been known for publishing unconventional perspectives on various geopolitical issues.
A spokesperson for Senator Coons reiterated the senator’s position on opposing terrorism following Hamas’ actions on October 7. The spokesperson clarified that while Coons does not support a cease-fire, he advocates for humanitarian pauses and has urged targeted Israeli campaigns against Hamas. Additionally, the senator has consistently called for the release of hostages held by Hamas.
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
https://t.co/VghclqIFwF. Sen. Coons (D) plays, “I’m a senator, this is a quiet car. You’re breaking the basic rules of how we operate on Amtrak, please stop,” Coons reiterates, before finally getting up and leaving his seat nearly 3 minutes after the exchange began.
— 81152A (@81152A) November 14, 2023