Yes, you read that right.
Here’s the full — and fully epic — back-and-forth between Trump and Benjamin Dictor, an attorney representing the protestors.
Dictor: Okay. 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: Oh, yeah. It was very dangerous.
Dictor: What was very dangerous?
Trump: We were threatened.
Dictor: With what?
Trump: They were going to throw fruit. We were threatened. We had a threat.
Dictor: How did you become aware that there was a threat that people were going to throw fruit?
Trump: We were told. I thought Secret Service was involved in that, actually. And you get hit with fruit, it’s — no — it’s very violent stuff. We were on alert for that.
Trump attorney Jeffrey Goldman: A tomato is a fruit after all, I guess. … It has seeds.
Trump: It’s worse than a 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.
Dictor: Who were you speaking to when you said …
Trump: The audience.
Dictor: 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?
Trump: That was to the audience. It was said sort of in jest. Buy maybe, you know, a little truth to it. It’s very dangerous stuff. You can get killed with those things. … 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 … they were going to hit — they were going to hit very hard.
There is a long history of American politicians being barraged by fruit.