Tale of the tape

Billy Bush challenges Trump on narrative surrounding ‘Access Hollywood’ tape

Billy Bush and Donald Trump seen in the leaked 2005 'Access Hollywood' tape.

Billy Bush published a scathing Op-Ed in The New York Times Sunday in which he pushed back against recent reports indicating that President Donald Trump is telling some of those in his inner circle that he thinks the audio in the infamous Access Hollywood tape from 2005 may have been doctored.

Bush, the former Access Hollywood host who could be heard giggling as Trump made the remark, was unequivocal. “He said it,” Bush wrote. “Grab ’em by the pussy. Of course he said it. And we laughed along, without a single doubt that this was hypothetical hot air from America’s highest-rated bloviator.”

Bush, a family member of the Bush political dynasty, said that seven other men were witness to Trump’s remarks. The former host suggested that he thought at the time that Trump was “performing” a “standup act,” but said in the intervening years and amid the slew of allegations of sexual misconduct that emerged against Trump during the campaign, he’s come to realize that Trump’s commentary is all too real.

He then went on to cite some of Trump’s accusers claims, noting that he believes the women.

“Kristin Anderson said that Mr. Trump reached under her skirt and ‘touched her vagina through her underwear’ while they were at a New York nightclub in the 1990s. That makes the ‘grab ’em by the pussy’ routine real. I believe her,” Bush wrote in the piece.

The sharp response from Bush is not the only one that has preemptively challenged the president on any doubt he might publicly try to cast on the authenticity of the Access Hollywood tape. Last week, Access Hollywood host Natalie Morales addressed the issue on the air and said, “Let us make this perfectly clear: The tape is very real. Remember his excuse at the time was ‘locker room talk.’ He said every one of those words.” And, Arianne Zucker, the actress who appeared in the tape with Bush and Trump also spoke out and questioned how Trump “could apologize for something” and then try to backtrack and change the narrative.

Bush, who was dismissed by NBC from his Access Hollywood job in the days after the tape was leaked, is still not working in television and he wrote openly about how difficult the last year has been for him.

Read the full Op-Ed at The New York Times.

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