Billy Bush is talking more about his career-wrecking vulgar off-camera 2005 conversation with Donald Trump. The disgraced entertainment journalist told Good Morning America, "If I had ever thought...that there was a grown man sitting in front of me detailing his sexual assault strategy, I would have called the FBI... With Trump, it's not much of a give-and-take. When he said what he said at the end...to me, it was more braggadocio, his word, and performance."
Last October, the Washington Post published audio that was captured as part of an Access Hollywood interview segment between Bush and Trump, which featured Trump telling Bush during a break, "You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet... And when you're a star, they let you do it, you can do anything. Grab 'em by the pussy."
Bush's response at the time was to laugh hysterically, which he now realizes was terrible, especially after his teen daughter cried when she heard the clip. On Good Morning America, Bush claimed that he reported Trump's remarks after the interview and learned that they had been recorded a few days later. "I said, 'You wouldn't believe the things that Trump was saying, you know, off camera'.... I never thought about it again. I just went on. It was Trump. It was an inconsequential ... He wasn't running for president. He was, at the time, the biggest star on television."
Bush had been interviewing Trump ahead of the real estate developer/reality star's guest appearance on Days of Our Lives. When Bush apparently spotted Trump's co-star, Days actress Arianne Zucker, Bush was heard saying that she's "hot as s--t. In the purple. Whoa, the Donald is good! Whoa, my man!... The Donald scores!"
Bush only actually listened to the tape days before the Washington Post released it, and recalled, "I recoiled ... It was guttural. Nobody reacted harsher and more gutturally than I did ... It really, really just killed me... "I remember the guy on the other side ... Twelve years ago, it was my first year as co-host of the show. I was insecure ... I was a pleaser."
After the tape emerged, Bush was fired from his new gig as a host of The Today Show. The Daily Mail is now reporting that the person who remembered the conversation during last year's campaign was Bush's executive producer at Access Hollywood, Rob Silverstein, who "allegedly wanted to compromise Trump's presidential bid while boosting the ratings of Access Hollywood."
Silverstein, Bush's best friend and godfather to his youngest daughter, concocted a plan to release the tapes. He initially intended to edit out his pal's participation in the conversation.
'Rob sent the entire video to the NBC legal department to get permission to leak it. They were stalling the process, doing what network lawyers do when over-thinking a situation like this,' said the source.
'But that's when someone else with access to the tape got antsy and decided to send the video to The Washington Post. It was done without Billy being edited out and that's how he was compromised during the process.'
Bush has reportedly not spoken to Silverstein since.
The tape also included a part where Trump revealed to Bush how he tried to sleep with Bush's colleague, Nancy O'Dell, but failed—"I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said, ‘I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.’ I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married." Trump also said of Dell, "Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look."
O'Dell said this week on Entertainment Tonight, "Billy reached out to me just about three weeks ago by email. He wrote a really nice apology, which I appreciated very much. He and I worked together for so many years, for a long time, and I only wish him the best moving forward."