‘Today’ co-host Billy Bush under fire over vulgar Trump tape
NEW YORK — “Today” show co-host Billy Bush says he is “embarrassed and ashamed” about his role chatting with Donald Trump on a vulgar 2005 videotape revealed Friday.
“It’s no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago – I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry,” Bush said in a statement.
Before the statement was released, angry comments piled up on Bush’s Facebook page from viewers who were disgusted by the contents of the tape, in which Trump brags in graphic terms about being able to grope women “when you’re a star.”
The “Today” show Facebook page was also overtaken by hundreds of critical comments. Some viewers said they want Bush to be suspended or fired.
NBC News had no immediate comment.
Bush is a co-host of the 9 a.m. hour of “Today,” NBC’s highly profitable morning show. He regularly appears during other hours of the four-hour broadcast, which has a predominately female audience.
Back in 2005, when Bush’s conversation with Trump took place, Bush was a co-host of “Access Hollywood,” the entertainment newsmagazine owned by NBC.
Trump was a colleague of sorts — he was the star of NBC’s prime time reality show “The Apprentice.”
The two men were together to promote Trump’s appearance on an NBC soap opera.
In a statement, Trump said the comments were “locker room banter” and said, “I apologize if anyone was offended.”
The video was not broadcast by NBC at the time it was taped. But it was archived at “Access Hollywood.”
“Access Hollywood” says a story from The Associated Press about Donald Trump’s behavior as star of “The Apprentice” led to its decision to dig through its archives and turn up damning footage of the GOP nominee.
The AP reported earlier this week that during his years on the “The Apprentice,” the GOP nominee repeatedly demeaned women with sexist language.
Natalie Morales of “Access Hollywood” says the AP’s story led it to find previously unaired footage from 2005, in which Trump brags about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women who were not his wife.
The footage was recorded during a bus ride while Trump was on his way to tape an episode of the soap opera “Days of Our Lives.”
It was first posted Friday by The Washington Post and NBC News.