“I wanted to have people be ready because we were put on alert that they were going to do fruit,” Trump said, according to a transcript of the deposition.
“It’s very dangerous stuff. You can get killed with those things,” he said of tomatoes. He also said it was necessary for security to be “aggressive” in stopping people from throwing “pineapples, bananas, tomatoes, stuff like that.”
Trump made the comments as he was questioned during the deposition about his remarks at a February 2016 rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he told attendees to “knock the crap out of” protesters who might throw tomatoes at him. He promised to pay the legal fees of anyone who did so.
It was one of multiple incidents in which Trump promoted violence against his critics.
During the deposition, Benjamin Dictor, an attorney for the five activists, asked Trump how he knew about the alleged plot to throw tomatoes at the 2016 rally.
“We were told,” Trump said vaguely. Pressed on whether anybody was actually found to have tomatoes in their possession, Trump said, “I don’t know. But it didn’t happen. It worked out that nothing happened.”
In 2020, Trump claimed that “anarchists” were throwing cans of soup at police, saying they were “coming over with bags of soup, big bags of soup, and they lay it on the ground and the anarchists take it and they start throwing it at our cops.” When soup-hurlers got caught, Trump claimed, “they say ‘no, this is soup for my family.’”
Dictor, the attorney for the plaintiffs suing Trump, told The New York Times last year that his questioning would focus on the former president’s control and responsibility over the violent actions of his bodyguards.
“The issue of the use of physical force at Trump rallies throughout his campaign, and presidency for that matter, are serious matters of public interest,” Dictor told the Times. “This incident, from Sept. 3, 2015, was one of the first examples of Donald Trump and his employees’ willingness to utilize physical force against peaceful demonstrators.”
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