Billy Bush, the other half of the scandalous Trump tape that dropped last Friday, was merely a spectator in politics until now. A member of the prominent Bush family, Billy avoided the political path of his cousins, George W. Bush and Jeb Bush. Up until the release of the damning tapes, his involvement in the 2016 Presidential Race has been limited to the media, with his role as a co-host on “The Today Show.”
All of that changed when Bush was revealed to be a participant in a crude discussion of women when he was a correspondent on “Access Hollywood.” Bush and Trump, as most of the world knows now, were chastised for discussing Trump’s failed attempt to bed a married woman, among talk of grabbing women’s genitalia, and remarks about actress Arianne Zucker. The fallout was immense for Trump, with many Republicans pulling their support for the Presidential nominee.
However, with Trump still on the ticket, he won’t be losing his opportunity to become President. Bush, on the other hand, doesn’t have the same kind of protection. He’s since been suspended from “The Today Show” and has issued a public apology stating his embarrassment over the manner.
“Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed,” said Bush. “It’s no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago – I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry.”
For many women, the apology doesn’t matter. Since the release of the tapes, Bush’s public Facebook page has been flooded with demands for his suspension or dismissal from NBC’s morning show, a reaction that’s concerning for producers. As most of the production staff is female, Bush’s nearly eleven-year-old “locker room talk” with The Donald threatens the very integrity of his thriving media career.
Bush’s career started in radio in Washington, D.C. with WARW-FM. Until January 2001, he was the host of “Billy Bush and the Bush League Morning Show,” before working for NBC. By the time he joined “Access Hollywood,” he was a seasoned reporter and media personality, working as a host for “Let’s Make a Deal” and “Today in New York” morning show.
Bush gained most of his notoriety from Access Hollywood, with his presence at exclusive events such as The Academy Awards, ABC’s Academy Awards pre-show, The Emmy’s Red Carpet Special and eventually, the Miss Universe pageant. He also went on to report on the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Winter Olympics in Torino, and the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics. Upon the release of the Trump tapes, Bush was known for his charisma and confidence on-camera.
Before his controversy with Trump, Bush found himself in trouble over an interview with U.S. Olympic Swimmer Ryan Lochte. After Lochte said he was robbed at gunpoint at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Bush was the first to speak to him on the matter. Lochte lied to Bush, changing major details of the event, and Bush was widely criticized for not asking more pressing questions to reveal the fabrications.
Al Roker criticized Bush for his defense of Lochte, pointing out that Billy didn’t seem to understand that Lochte wasn’t just stretching the truth, but that he had flat out lied. This wasn’t too long before the outcry over the Trump tapes, leaving Billy in a vulnerable position with the network. While it’s not apparent how long Bush will be penalized for his role on the tape, one thing is certain – it’s far from over.