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Billy Bush on Trump and 'Access Hollywood' tape: 'Of course he said it'

Christie D'Zurilla, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Billy Bush is back.

He might not have a media job (yet?), but he stepped up Sunday with an essay confirming that no matter what the president might say now, it was indeed Donald Trump speaking on the "Access Hollywood" tape that leaked more than a year ago.

"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," the former NBC star wrote in a Sunday op-ed for the New York Times, offering some context for what Trump called locker-room banter.

Bush said he and Trump were with seven other guys in the "AH" bus.

"Every single one of us assumed we were listening to a crass stand-up act. He was performing. Surely, we thought, none of this was real."

After the tape came out, 16 women accused Trump of sexual misbehavior. Last week, it was reported that Trump has been telling some people it wasn't his voice on the tape.

That, Bush said, is revisionist history, and it "hit a raw nerve." Seeing his own firing offense in comparison to former NBC colleague Matt Lauer's can't be sitting well with Bush, who lost his "AH" and "Today" gigs over a single conversation.

 

In an interview earlier this year with the Hollywood Reporter, Bush talked about how Trump was his "No. 1 star," and NBC's, when that conversation was recorded. On Sunday, he pushed that notion again.

"Was I acting out of self-interest? You bet I was," Bush wrote in the New York Times. "Was I alone? Far from it. 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."

Bush will no doubt have more to say about the situation Monday on "Late Night With Stephen Colbert," where he'll make his first public appearance since 2016.

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