“You misunderstand completely,” he told his audience. “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?”
Depp added: “I want to clarify: I’m not an actor. I lie for a living. However, it’s been a while, and maybe it’s time.”
As the actor’s publicists backstage presumably began tearing their hair out in horror, Depp admitted his words could prove controversial.
“By the way, this is going to be in the press and it’ll be horrible,” he said. “It’s just a question, I’m not insinuating anything.”
The comments may have been a reference to the actor John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln back in 1865.
Depp is not the first celebrity to allude to assassinating Donald Trump.
Madonna told a rally in Washington DC that she thought “an awful lot about blowing up the White House”, while rapper Snoop Dogg courted controversy when he shot a toy gun at a Trump character in his music video.
US TV presenter Kathy Griffin was also accused of going too far when she posed with a decapitated, bloody Trump head in a photo shoot.
In a statement to ABC News, the US Secret Service said: “We actively monitor open source reporting, including social media networks, and we evaluate potential threats. For security reasons, we cannot discuss specifically nor in general terms the means and methods of how we perform our protective responsibilities.”