Well, this is bananas.
According to former President Donald Trump, hurling a fruit at someone can be a lethal act—one that justifies the use of violence to thwart any use of produce as projectile.
In transcripts of an October 2021 deposition, filed in court on Tuesday, the twice-impeached former president insisted tomatoes, pineapples, and bananas can be “very dangerous” weapons that justify violent acts of “self-defense.” (Elsewhere in the just-released deposition, The Daily Beast reported, Trump admitted he personally oversaw the pay of a Trump Organization exec whose corporate perks have come under legal scrutiny in a tax fraud case.)
Trump was testifying under oath in a civil lawsuit brought by protesters alleging they were assaulted by his security guards outside his New York offices in 2015. Of particular interest to lawyers representing the protesters were Trump’s remarks during a campaign speech in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Feb. 1, 2016, in which he told attendees: “If you see someone getting ready to throw a tomato, just knock the crap out of them, would you?”
Asked why he made that specific request, Trump testified that his campaign had received a threat that day. “They were going to throw fruit,” he claimed. “And you get hit with fruit, it’s—no, it’s very violent stuff. We were on alert for that.”
In a comedic moment, the plaintiffs’ lawyer Benjamin Dictor dryly remarked, “A tomato is a fruit after all, I guess,” and Trump’s attorney Jeffrey Goldman jumped in to confirm: “It has seeds.”
The former president then continued on the subject of frightful fruits: “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 conceded that his remarks may have been “said sort of in jest,” but quickly added that there was “a little truth to it” because hurled tomatoes are “very dangerous stuff.” He noted: “You can get killed with those things.”
Asked whether he was trying to “incentivize people to engage in violence,” the former president responded: “No, I wanted to have people be ready because we were put on alert that they were going to do fruit.”
Trump continued with another tomato tirade: “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.”
Asked whether anyone in attendance was actually found to have tomatoes in their possession that day, Trump conceded, “I don’t know. But… it worked out that nothing happened.”
Moments later, when grilled about further declaring during the Iowa speech that he’d pay the legal fees of anyone who “knocks the crap out of” a protester, Trump once again said he faced a “serious threat.”
“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?” Dictor then inquired, prompting Trump to yet again rattle off concerns about dangerous fruits.
“Well, a tomato, a pineapple, a lot of other things they throw,” he 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. Because if that happens, you can be killed if that happens.”
“And getting aggressive includes the use of physical force?” the cross-examining lawyer followed up.
“To stop somebody from throwing pineapples, tomatoes, bananas, stuff like that, yeah,” Trump replied. “It’s dangerous stuff.”
A Trump spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment immediately.
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