Billy Bush is back, nearly three years after he was fired from the Today show in 2016 for appearing on the 2005 Access Hollywood tape of now-President Donald Trump bragging about grabbing women “by the pussy.” And boy does he have some things to say!
Speaking to Gayle King ahead of his debut as the new host of Extra, Bush said that he felt the tape was “weaponized” against him despite Trump being the intended target of the release. He also claimed that “everybody” at the network knew about the tape before it was released, and said he was assured his job was safe.
“I got taken out, but I wasn’t the target,” Bush said. “I was told that, ‘You’re good. Don’t worry about it. It’s not you. You didn’t say anything.’”
Bush went on to say that he laughed along with what Trump was saying because he was a new host on Access Hollywood and he didn’t want to lose Trump, who was NBC’s biggest star at the time.
“I became a very different guy,” he also said.
After the interview promo rolled, King also recounted Bush claiming he hadn’t even heard Trump say “pussy” on the bus because he was too busy trying to figure out what he was supposed to be doing next and wasn’t really paying attention to Trump. “We’ve all been in that situation,” one CBS host agreed.
Bush said he did, however, catch Trump’s comments about Bush’s co-host at the time, Nancy O’Dell, who Trump said he “did try to fuck.”
In the promo, Bush also said the hot mic audio served as a “tipping point” for the #MeToo movement. True, tens of women have come forward to accuse Trump of sexual harassment or sexual assault, but it wouldn’t kill Bush to show a little remorse for not sticking up for his own co-worker at the time, at the very least.
Anyway, the man seems to have his career back, and the person most implicated by the tape is still the president of the United States. It’s hard to keep even a bad man down.