It hardly came as a surprise that Billy Bush was a no-show on “Today” Monday morning.
Early in the broadcast, co-anchor Savannah Guthrie briefly mentioned that Bush would not be appearing. “We want to note one other thing. Pending further review of the matter, NBC News has suspended Billy Bush as the host of ‘Today’s’ third hour for his role in that conversation with Donald Trump,” she said.
Bush, who joined the “Today” team in August as third hour co-host of the NBC show, was put on indefinite suspension on Sunday for his part in a leaked 2005 audio in which future Republican presidential nominee Trump made a series of comments many politicians, academics and media personnel took to be bragging over having committed sexual assault.
Former “Access Hollywood” correspondent Bush, 44 — a cousin of former President George W. Bush and recent Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush, as well as a nephew of former President George H.W. Bush — was replaced on “Today” Monday by Tamron Hall and Al Roker.
“As you can see Billy Bush is not joining us today,” Roker said. “As you’re probably aware, [he was] part of that 2005 ‘Access Hollywood’ taping with Donald Trump that’s been in the news all weekend,” Roker said.
Added Hall, “NBC, which owns ‘Access Hollywood,’ has suspended Billy for his role in that conversation pending further review.”
“I know we’ve all been deeply troubled by the revelations of the past 48 hours,” Noah Oppenheim, the executive in charge of “Today,” said in an internal memo leaked to outlets including CNN and USA Today. “Let me be clear — there is simply no excuse for Billy’s language and behavior on that tape,” he wrote. “NBC has decided to suspend Billy, pending further review of this matter.”
Bush issued an apology Friday for his part in the inadvertently live-microphone conversation, in which Trump, then 59, described in graphic detail his stalking of a married woman for sex and his ability to kiss and grab women by their genitals because he was rich and famous.
“Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed,” Bush said. “It’s no excuse, but this happened 11 years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry.”