Former NBC Newser Billy Bush wanted to set the record straight, and he did so in a New York Times op-ed published last night.
In a piece titled, Yes, Donald Trump, You Said That, the former Access Hollywood host addressed recent reports indicating that Pres. Trump is apparently doubting the voice on the notorious NBC Access Hollywood tape from 2005 is his.
That’s “revisionist history. This has hit a raw nerve in me,” Bush writes.
Of course he said it. And we laughed along, without a single doubt that this was hypothetical hot air from America’s highest-rated bloviator. Along with Donald Trump and me, there were seven other guys present on the bus at the time, and every single one of us assumed we were listening to a crass standup act. He was performing. Surely, we thought, none of this was real.
At the time of the bus encounter, in 2005, Bush was in the midst of his first full year as Access Hollywood co-host and Trump was host of NBC’s The Apprentice. Part of being a successful host of a entertainment magazine program is “establishing a strong rapport with celebrities.” Bush notes that his previous segments with Trump as a correspondent “were part of the reason I got promoted.”
With Mr. Trump’s outsized viewership back in 2005, everybody from Billy Bush on up to the top brass on the 52nd floor had to stroke the ego of the big cash cow along the way to higher earnings.
NBC rewarded Bush for his work, tripling his salary and paying for his move from New York to Los Angeles. By the summer of 2016 Bush was planning a move back to New York to co-host the 9 a.m. hour of the Today show. But that was scuttled after the tape was released.
Bush will appear on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert tonight for what will be his first TV appearance since NBC fired him in October 2016.