In October, 2016, footage surfaced of Billy Bush engaging in a lewd conversation with Donald Trump while filming an Access Hollywood segment in 2005. Soon after, the host lost his job on Today. When the tape was leaked, many also believed that it would end Donald Trump's presidential bid; as we now know, that was not the case.
Nearly a year later, Bush is finally addressing the incident. In an extensive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Bush spoke about everything that's happened since the tape was leaked. Ahead, read some of Bush's most notable quotes from the interview:
- On his major regret: "Looking back on what was said on that bus, I wish I had changed the topic. I wish I had said: 'Does anyone want water?' or 'It looks like it's gonna rain.' He liked TV and competition. I could've said, 'Can you believe the ratings on whatever?' I didn't have the strength of character to do it."
- On Trump's "locker room banter" excuse: "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."
- On the first time he watched the tape: "I heard it for the first time seven and a half months ago, three days before the rest of the world heard it. I was shocked and alarmed and totally and completely gutted. It was awful. And my participation was awful, too. I remember that guy, he was almost sycophantic. It was my first year as co-host of Access Hollywood, and I was an insecure person, a bit of a pleaser, wanting celebrities to like me and fit in."
- On Trump's victory: "I will admit the irony is glaring. [Trump] has his process for his participation [in the tape], and I have mine. I had to turn this into a positive . . . 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."
- On understanding the female perspective: "When a woman watches that tape — and this is what really hit me — 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? Are they sizing me up?' I can't live with that. If a moment like that arose again, I would shut it down quickly."
- On wanting to get back to work: "In the beginning, your instinct is, 'Hey, I need to get back, the train is leaving. I need to.' But that would not have been a good idea. There's a process that needs to take place because you just can't come back; it has to have changed you in some way. But I plan to return to the job that I love, which is television, communicating, interviewing people. I have changed in a way that I think will make me better at my job. I believe there will be more people like me in crisis. And with social media, a flame becomes a bonfire quickly. So I will be picking up my pen and writing them and calling them on the phone, and I will pursue these interviews and these moments with these people."
- On who he voted for: "You're asking a journalist the way he voted? I've never made politics and prior votes public knowledge. I'm a registered independent, I'll tell you that."