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‘Today’ Show, Very Briefly, Addresses Billy Bush’s Suspension Over Sexist Donald Trump Tape

The elephant in the room. Savannah Guthrie briefly addressed the suspension of her Today colleague Billy Bush over his part in Donald Trump’s sexist 2005 video during the NBC morning show on Monday, October 10.

Guthrie, 44, mentioned Bush, also 44, after speaking with Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, and right before a commercial break.

Billy Bush

“We want to note one other thing. Pending further review of the matter, NBC News has suspended Billy Bush as the host of Today’s third hour for his role in that conversation with Donald Trump,” Guthrie said.

In the next hour, Bush’s co-hosts Al Roker and Tamron Hall spoke about the issue. “As you can see, Billy Bush is not joining us today. As you’re probably aware, [he was] part of that 2005 Access Hollywood taping with Donald Trump that’s been in the news all weekend,” Roker, 62, said.

Hall, 46, added: “NBC, which owns Access Hollywood, has suspended Billy for his role in that conversation pending further review.”

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As Us Weekly previously reported, The Washington Post released a video on Friday of Bush and Trump, 70, making vulgar comments during an Access Hollywood interview 11 years ago. The future GOP presidential candidate didn’t know his mic was on when he boasted that he once tried to sleep with an unnamed married woman, later revealed to be veteran TV journalist Nancy O’Dell.

The video instantly caused a frenzy on social media. Bush deleted his Twitter and apologized for his past behavior. “Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed,” he said in a statement on Friday. “It’s no excuse, but this happened 11 years ago — I was younger, less mature and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry.” (Bush was 33 and Trump 59 at the time.) Two days later, NBC announced that Bush, Jeb Bush’s cousin, was suspended from the Today show indefinitely.

Trump, meanwhile, was asked about the vulgar footage during his second presidential debate against Hillary Clinton on Sunday night.

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“You called what you said locker-room banter, kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals,” co-moderator Anderson Cooper said. “That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women.”

In this 2005 frame from video, Donald Trump prepares for an appearance on 'Days of Our Lives' with actress Arianne Zucker (center). He is accompanied to the set by Access Hollywood host Billy Bush.
In this 2005 frame from video, Donald Trump prepares for an appearance on ‘Days of Our Lives’ with actress Arianne Zucker. He is accompanied to the set by ‘Access Hollywood’ host Billy Bush.

“I don’t think you understand,” Trump replied. “This was locker-room talk. I’m not proud of it. I apologized to my family. To the American people.”

More than an hour earlier, Trump appeared with four of Bill Clinton’s previous sexual assault accusers in a surprise news conference — and invited them to sit in at the debate. The former secretary of state didn’t appear fazed.

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“What we all saw and heard on Friday was Donald talking about women. What he thinks about women. What he does to women. And he has said that the video doesn’t represent who he is. But I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly what he is. Because we’ve seen this throughout the campaign,” Clinton said on Sunday. “We have seen him insult women. We’ve seen him rate women on their appearance, ranking them from one to 10. We’ve seen him embarrass women on TV and on Twitter. We saw him after the first debate spend nearly a week denigrating a former Miss Universe in the harshest, most personal terms. So, yes, this is who Donald Trump is.”

“But it’s not only women and it’s not only this video that raise questions about his fitness to be our president,” she added. “Because he has also targeted immigrants, African Americans, Latinos, people with disabilities, Muslims and others.”

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