Donald Trump shared fears that protesters could hurl ‘dangerous’ fruits like ‘pineapples, tomatoes, bananas’ at him in a sworn deposition released on Tuesday night.
‘You can get killed with one of those things,’ he said according to Insider.
The former president had to sit down for a videotaped session with lawyers in October as part of an ongoing court case where he’s accused of ordering his security to attack protesters outside of Trump Tower in New York City in September 2015.
Demonstrators were gathered to oppose his 2016 presidential campaign after the then-Republican candidate made a speech claiming Mexicans were ‘rapists’ and ‘bringing crime’ into the U.S.
Trump denied ordering his security to violently break up the protest, and according to one excerpt obtained by Insider, he attempted to excuse previous inflammatory statements with concerns that some activist could hurl a piece of fruit his way.
‘It’s very dangerous stuff,’ the former president said.
As part of the deposition Trump was being grilled on past statements that could be seen as inciting violence, such as a remark at a 2016 rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where he offered to pay the legal fees of anyone who assaulted a person that tried to hurl a tomato his way.
The Trump Tower protesters’ lawyer asked, ‘And you said that “if you see someone getting ready to throw a tomato, just knock the crap out of them, would you.” That was your statement?’
Former President Donald Trump said his Secret Service had gotten tipped off that a protester was looking to throw tomatoes at an Iowa rally in 2016
‘Oh yeah…it was very dangerous,’ the former president reportedly replied.
Asked to clarify, he said: ‘We were threatened.
He explained they received a ‘threat’ that someone was ‘going to throw fruit.’
Trump suggested they got a tip-off that such a protest could occur.
‘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,’ he said.
The deposition reportedly got side-tracked by attorneys discussing whether a tomato constituted a fruit or a vegetable.
Even the former president’s attorney chimed in, pointing out that they did have seeds as most fruits do.
Trump cut in, ‘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.’
The ex-president told the plaintiffs’ attorney that he was speaking to the audience ‘in jest’ when he offered the legal funding.
He added, ‘But maybe, you know, a little truth to it. It’s very dangerous stuff. You can get killed with those things.’
‘So you were trying to incentivize people to engage in violence?’ Dictor asked.
He spoke for more than four hours in a videotaped deposition for a lawsuit claiming he had his security violently disperse protesters in 2015
It occurred about a year before the two protests pictured in New York City here, months after Trump declared his 2016 candidacy for president
Trump’s lawyer objected, but the former president answered anyway.
‘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,’ he said.
‘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.’
Trump did admit that no tomatoes were thrown, nor did he know if anybody who attended that Iowa rally brought any with them.
He gave a meandering answer when asked if he expected his personal security to take on any activists who aimed fruit in his direction.
‘Well, a tomato, a pineapple, a lot of other things they throw,’ Trump said.
‘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 that they have to be aggressive in stopping that from happening.’
He added that he could be ‘killed’ by such a projectile.
Trump confirmed that getting ‘aggressive’ meant the use of ‘physical force.’
‘To stop somebody from throwing pineapples, tomatoes, bananas, stuff like that, yeah, it’s dangerous stuff,’ he said.
Trump had not given a spoken deposition since before entering the White House in 2017.
The Republican leader is currently embroiled in a court battle trying to delay or quash a subpoena to appear in person before New York State Attorney General Letitia James.
James is investigating him and the Trump Organizations over allegations the real estate company knowingly misrepresented financial documents in order to obtain more favorable loans and deals.
He’s expected to be deposed again on June 16, as part of a lawsuit accusing him and his two eldest children of promoting a multi-level marketing scheme during his years on NBC’s The Apprentice.
Trump was also ordered to give a deposition by June 21 in a case brought by musician Eddy Grant, who is suing the former president for using Grant’s hit ‘Electric Avenue’ in a video criticizing then-candidate Joe Biden in 2020.