NEW YORK — Former US president Donald Trump testified under oath that he feared protesters would pelt him with “very dangerous” fruit like pineapples, tomatoes, and bananas saying: "You can get killed with those things."
The comments were revealed in court documents made public Tuesday, which included a transcript of a deposition Trump gave last October as part of an ongoing civil lawsuit in New York.
The case was brought by several activists of Mexican descent who say they were attacked by his security guards outside Trump Tower in Manhattan in 2015.
Here is the portion of Trump's testimony in which Trump swears to his fear of flying fruit (starting at page 51 of the official transcript which is linked below).
Benjamin Dictor, an attorney representing the protestors: Okay. 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?
Trump: Oh, yeah. It was very dangerous.
Dictor: What was very dangerous?
Trump: We were threatened.
Dictor: With what?
Trump: They were going to throw fruit. We were threatened. We had a threat.
Dictor: How did you become aware that there was a threat that people were going to throw fruit?
Trump: We were told. I thought Secret Service was involved in that, actually. And you get hit with fruit, it's -- no -- it's very violent stuff. We were on alert for that.
Trump attorney Jeffrey Goldman: A tomato is a fruit after all, I guess. ... It has seeds.
Trump: It's worse than a 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.
Dictor: Who were you speaking to when you said ...
Trump: The audience.
Dictor: So you were speaking to the audience when you said if they saw someone getting ready to throw a tomato, just knock the crap out of them, would you?
Trump: That was to the audience. It was said sort of in jest. Buy maybe, you know, a little truth to it. It's very dangerous stuff. You can get killed with those things. ... 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 ... they were going to hit -- they were going to hit hard.
Dictor: Do you have any knowledge as to whether or not anybody was found to have tomatoes in their possession on that date?
Trump: I don't know. But it didn't happen. It worked out that nothing happened. It was -- the speech was good and there was no event -- there was no -- nothing happened.
Dictor: Was it a false alarm?
Trump: No, it was something that didn't happen for whatever reason. It's very good. We heard it was going to happen, but nothing happened.
Dictor: Why did you tell the people in the audience that you would pay their legal fees?
Trump: Because if they get in trouble trying to protect us, including them, I would have paid their legal fees.
Dictor: When you said --
Trump: I wanted them to be on the alert. It was a serious threat. And I would have paid their legal fees if they stopped somebody. Today if you stop somebody, not today, even then, but that was a long time ago, that was years ago. But I would have been willing to pay their legal fees, yeah, if they stopped somebody. It turned out that we didn't need that.
Dictor: You said you were talking to the audience. But is the same true of your security? Do you expect your security to knock the crap out of someone if they see them about --
Trump: I was talking to the audience --
Dictor: Mr. President, please let me finish the question so we can get the whole record very clear. Is it your expectation that if your security guards see someone about to throw a tomato that they should knock the crap out of them?
Trump: 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 that they have to be aggressive in stopping that from happening. Because if that happens, you can be killed if that happens.
Dictor: And getting aggressive includes the use of physical force?
Trump: To stop somebody from throwing pineapples, tomatoes, bananas, stuff like that, yeah, it's dangerous stuff.