Former President Donald Trump feared being attacked by fruit during a 2015 protest outside of Trump Tower in New York City, according to newly released court documents that Business Insider obtained and published on Wednesday.
The records reveal that Trump said in a deposition last October that he ordered the Secret Service to violently quash demonstrators outside of his Fifth Avenue residence because he was afraid that he would be pelted by fruit.
Trump is being sued by the victims.
“It’s very dangerous stuff,” Trump said. “You can get killed with those things.”
Trump’s past wishes for his guards to “knock the crap” out of protesters were of specific interest to the complainants’ attorneys.
Benjamin Dictor, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, asked Trump, “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 admitted as much.
“Oh yeah,” the ex-commander in chief said. “It was very dangerous.”
Dictor kept digging.
“What was very dangerous?” he asked.
“We were threatened,” Trump responded.
“With what?” Dictor asked.
“They were going to throw fruit,” Trump said. “We were threatened. We had a threat.”
The conversation got even nuttier from there.
“How did you become aware that there was a threat that people were going to throw fruit?” Dictor continued.
“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.”
According to Trump’s testimony, tomatoes posed a particular danger, so much so that his defense team paused the deposition to clarify that tomatoes are, in fact, a fruit.
“It has seeds,” Trump’s counsel Jeffrey Goldman declared.
Although a tomato was far from the only fleshy weapon that Trump feared, he believed that it had the greatest potential for damage.
“It’s worse than tomato, it’s other things also,” he noted. “But tomato, when they start doing that stuff, it’s very dangerous. There was an alert out that day.”
Trump was then pressed on whether he intended to stoke violence based on rumors of run-by fruitings.
“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?” asked Dictor.
Trump admitted that he did but insisted that he was only joking.
“That was to the audience. 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,” he reiterated, adding that “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. 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.”
Trump then conceded that he had no tangible intelligence indicating that people were waiting to throw fruit at him. He also said that even though it never occurred, he was justified in fearing that other fruits – “pineapples, tomatoes, bananas, stuff like that” – posed an imminent hazard.
“I think that they [Secret Service] have to be aggressive in stopping that from happening,” Trump said. “Because if that happens, you can be killed if that happens.”