During the 2016 election campaign, Donald Trump feared that hostile demonstrators with “very dangerous” fruits such as “pineapples, tomatoes, bananas” were likely to “kill,” the former US President said under oath before the New York Judiciary in a court document.
The Republican billionaire, the target of multiple lawsuits in the United States, testified under oath in front of attorneys via videoconference on Oct. 18 in New York under the aegis of the state Supreme Court.
That statement, which has been around for six months, is part of a civil lawsuit filed by protesters of Mexican descent who are accusing Trump’s bodyguards of assaulting them during a Manhattan demonstration in September 2015, when he was a candidate in the following year’s Republican primary.
The New York judiciary overnight released the transcript of more than four hours of testimony, which the Daily Beast media was the first to repeat.
According to the nearly 200-page document, Mr Trump is being questioned by plaintiffs’ attorneys about a February 2016 campaign rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he told his supporters, “When you see someone ready to throw a tomato , smash his face, you will”.
When asked if it was “incitement to violence,” the 45th President of the United States justified himself by advocating self-defense, even if it meant using physical force “to prevent someone from eating pineapples, tomatoes, Throwing bananas and stuff like that, yeah, it’s dangerous”.
“A tomato, a pineapple and many other things thrown when security saw that (…) and others in the crowd could be hit badly, I think they had to be aggressive to avoid it happening, because if it were they could be killed,” Donald Trump continued.
“It’s a very dangerous thing. You can get killed by these things,” he insisted in exchange with the plaintiffs’ defense.
On September 3, 2015, three months after Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the 2016 Republican primary, several people of Mexican descent protested in front of Trump Tower in Manhattan, claiming that they were beaten by bodyguards of the person responsible.
At the time, plaintiffs were furious with Donald Trump, who accused Mexicans of exporting “drugs” and “crimes” to the United States and being “rapists.”
The former president, who has also been sued in New York on suspicion of “fraudulent” tax practices by his group Trump Organization in civil and criminal cases, had described the complaint by protesters in 2015 as “a ridiculous story”.