Billy Bush says reports that Donald Trump is questioning the authenticity of the infamous Access Hollywood tapes have “hit a raw nerve in me.”
In a scathing New York Times op-ed, the former Today Show and Access Hollywood host reacted to recent reports that Trump has been questioning the authenticity of the tape, on which the president is heard bragging about assaulting women.
The tape, which was released more than a year ago, has come back into the spotlight as a spate of sexual harassment complaints against politicians, entertainers, and members of the media have prompted questions about appropriate punishment for such behavior. Bush was suspended from The Today Show when the tape was released, and earlier this year he expressed remorse for not having “changed the subject.”
But the op-ed is by far his strongest condemnation of Trump to date. He said that he and the other men present at the time thought Trump’s comments were a “crass standup act,” but that since hearing women allege very real instances of sexual misconduct against him, he has come to see the truth in the comments.
The op-ed comes as Matt Lauer, Bush’s former colleague on The Today Show, has been fired by NBC for inappropriate sexual behaviour after two decades anchoring the show.