Former President Donald Trump feared he would be hit with “dangerous” fruit by protestors during rallies or events, saying it could be lethal, a newly released deposition reveals.
Speaking under oath in October for a lawsuit that alleges his staff assaulted protesters outside Trump Tower in 2015, Trump was pressed on a remark he made telling supporters to “knock the crap” out of someone if they threw a tomato towards the then-candidate.
“It was very dangerous,” the former president said according to the deposition released Tuesday.
“What was dangerous?” asked Benjamin Dictor, the lawyer for the plaintiffs in the case.
“We were threatened,” Trump replied.
When asked what he was threatened with, Trump revealed his team was warned that people “were going to throw fruit.”
“We were told,” Trump said. “I thought Secret Service was involved in that, actually. But we were told. And you get hit with fruit, it’s — no, it’s very violent stuff. We were on alert for that.”
“A tomato is a fruit after all, I guess,” Dictor said.
At this point, Trump’s attorney Jeffery Goldman jumped in, confirming the tomato’s categorization saying, “It has seeds.”
Meanwhile, the 45th president went on to describe the danger of the situation.
“It’s worse than tomato, it’s other things also. But tomato, when they start doing that stuff, it’s very dangerous. There was an alert out that day.”
Trump later clarified that when he told his supporters to knock out any fruit-throwers, it was “in jest.”
“That was to the audience,” Trump said. “It was said sort of in jest. But maybe, you know, a little truth to it. It’s very dangerous stuff. You can get killed with those things.”
When Dictor pressed Trump on whether he was trying to incentivize his supporters to engage in violence, Goldman objected, however the former president answered anyways.
“No I wanted to have people be ready, because we were put on alert that they were going to do fruit. And some fruit is a lot worse than – tomatoes are bad by the way. But it’s very dangerous,” Trump said.
“No. I wanted them to watch. They were on alert. I remember that specific event because everybody was on alert. They were going to hit – they were going to hit hard.”
While Trump said he did not know if anyone was in the possession of tomatoes at the event, he still called it a “serious threat.”
The deposition reveals that Dictor also asked Trump if he expected his security team to “knock the crap out of ” any protester who might throw a piece of fruit.
“Well, a tomato, a pineapple, a lot of other things they throw. Yeah, if the security saw that, I would say you have to – and it’s not just me, it’s other people in the audience, get badly hurt. Yeah, I think they have to be aggressive in stopping that from happening,” Trump said. “Because if that happens, you can be killed if that happens.”
A trial in the case is scheduled for next month in the Bronx, however all parties have since requested it be postponed due to Michael Cohen’s video deposition.
Cohen reportedly revealed he heard Trump direct his private security to “get rid of” protestors ahead of an event, despite the former president saying he had no knowledge of the protest until a day or so after it happened.