Billy Bush on Monday described the personal fallout from the lascivious recorded exchange between himself and Donald Trump that resulted in Bush’s firing as a “Today” co-host last October.
“The initial moments were total chaos,” Bush, 45, told “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts, in response to her asking how he faced his wife and daughters after a video with an off-camera audio recording, made during an “Access Hollywood” interview in 2005, surfaced on Oct. 7 last year. In it, Trump bragged about touching women due to his position of wealth and celebrity, while Bush appeared to encourage the talk.
“There was a powerful moment,” he told Roberts. “My now 16-year-old daughter called me and she was in tears and she was really upset, and I said, ‘Mary, it’s, it’s going to be OK. You know, don’t worry.’ And she said, ‘No. Why were you laughing at the things that he was saying on that bus? Why were you playing along with it, Dad? It wasn’t funny.’ I said, ‘Mary, I am sorry. And there is no good answer for that.’ ”
Bush was suspended and then fired from “Today,” which he had joined only that August. Trump at the time downplayed his statements as “locker-room banter.”
“No,” Bush responded, telling The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published Sunday that, “I’m in a lot of locker rooms, I am an athlete, and no, that is not the type of conversation that goes on or that I’ve participated in.” He said his wife, Sydney, “knows the environment and the atmosphere I was in at the time, and she knows very well the person she married. She has been very supportive from the very beginning.”
Bush — a cousin of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and President George W. Bush, and a nephew of former President George H.W. Bush — additionally told the magazine, “Robin Roberts’ mother has this quote, ‘Make your mess your message.’ And so I have that opportunity. I’ve come out of this with a deeper understanding of how women can connect to the feeling of having to fight extra hard for an even playing field. . . . When a woman watches that tape . . . they may be asking themselves, ‘Is that what happens when I walk out of a room? When I walk out of a meeting, is that what they’re saying about me?’ . . . I can’t live with that. . . . I have three daughters — Mary, Lillie, Josie — and I care very much about the world and the people they encounter.”