In a 2016 presidential election marked by uncomfortable moments, former Today show host Billy Bush was at the center of one of the most excruciating moments. Bush’s voice was heard alongside the voice of then-Apprentice host Donald Trump on an 11-year-old hot mic tape that leaked just one month before the election. It was Trump’s voice that uttered the infamously offensive “grab them by the pussy” comment that appeared like it might sink his unlikely presidential campaign. But Bush, who was the host of Access Hollywood at the time of the recording, was heard on the tape as well, snickering and egging the future candidate on. Before Election Day, Bush was long gone from his job as a Today show host, not long after he’d arrived there. And Trump, unscathed by the scandal, went on to win the presidency.
For months, Bush has been out of the spotlight. He certainly wasn’t an innocent participant in the exchange, but he bore the brunt of the fallout, while Trump largely got off scot-free. And the fallout for Bush was not just of the professional variety. Bush has three daughters with whom he had to address his unbecoming behavior after he was dismissed by NBC. The cast off host, attempting to make a comeback in television, is now speaking out for the first time about how he dealt with the scandal at home. His first remarks on the scandal as a whole and the impact it had on his family came in a Hollywood Reporter interview published late Sunday night. On Monday morning, he followed that up with an interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, his former Today show rival.
Bush told The Hollywood Reporter that all three of his daughters — 18, 16 and 12 — were impacted to by the leak of the tape to varying degrees, but his then-15-year-old daughter was most unsettled by it.
“My [then] 15-year-old, Mary, called me from boarding school, and she was in tears: ‘Dad, Dad, Dad, and I said, ‘Everything is going to be fine, Mary. Everything’s going to be OK,'” Bush recalled. “It’s just instinctively what you say to your daughter. And she said, ‘No, why were you laughing at the things that he was saying on that bus, Dad? They weren’t funny.’ It hit really hard, and I stopped for a second, and I said, ‘I have no answer for that that’s any good. I am really sorry. That was dad in a bad moment a long time ago. You know me. I am really sorry that you had to hear and see that. I love you.’ She needed to hear that, and I certainly needed to tell her that.”
On GMA, Bush told Robin Roberts much the same thing. Watch a clip of him below.
— ABC News (@ABC) May 22, 2017
Bush went on to touch on a number of other aspects surrounding the scandal, including Trump’s dismissal of the conversation as “locker room banter.”
“No. I’m in a lot of locker rooms, I am an athlete,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “And no, that is not the type of conversation that goes on or that I’ve participated in.” He then explained why he wasn’t overly concerned about Trump’s remarks at the time.
Read the full story at The Hollywood Reporter.