Former President Donald Trump has claimed he feared being killed by a tomato leading him to tell supporters to "knock the crap" out of anyone who threw them.
The ex-president's worry was revealed under oath in October during a lawsuit alleging his staff assaulted protesters outside Trump Tower, New York, in 2015.
Trump was pressed over the comment which seemed to suggest he encouraged violence against anyone who threw a tomato towards the then-candidate.
“It was very dangerous,” the former president said according to the deposition released Tuesday, reports New York Post.
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.”
He continued: “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 claimed telling his supporters to knock out any fruit-throwers 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 Benjamin Dictor, the lawyer for the plaintiffs in the case, asked Trump if he was trying to incentivise his supporters to engage in violence, Trump responded: “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."
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.
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