Billy Bush opened up about the aftermath of the Access Hollywood tape that leaked in October, and whether or not he has spoken to President Donald Trump since the incident. (Watch it above.)
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“Based upon the moment that is on that tape, I understand people’s reaction. I agree. I also felt that way,” the TV host, 45, told Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts in an interview, which aired on Wednesday, May 23. “We live in a visual and digital age, so we get this video, this moment, and we react emotionally to it.”
He revealed that he hasn’t spoken to the former real estate mogul since the tape’s release. “There was no relationship,” he said. “It was work-related, and I interviewed him multiple times, especially back then. He never reached out, and I didn’t reach out.”
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Bush also responded to Melania Trump’s October comments to CNN that her husband was “egged on by the host to say dirty and bad stuff.” Bush took responsibility, saying, “I definitely added to the conversation by you know, I was keeping the ball in the air. … To me, it was more braggadocio — his word — and performance. If I had ever thought, I like to think, that there was a grown man sitting in front of me detailing his sexual assault strategy, I would have called the FBI.”
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The former Access Hollywood host also said that he reported the 2005 exchange as soon as it happened. “I said, ‘You wouldn’t believe the things that [Donald] Trump was saying off camera,’” he recalled. “When I was recounting what happened, I said, ‘When the camera left, this is what the conversation was,’ and they told me days later, ‘Well, that was on. The camera was rolling. There’s audio of all that.’ I never thought about it again. I just went on.”
Bush thought the audio recording was “inconsequential” at the time. “He wasn’t running for president. He was, at the time, the biggest star on television,” he continued.
In retrospect, Bush wishes that he would have changed the topic. “I was insecure. I was a pleaser. I kind of remember wanting these celebrities to like me, so that I could keep going in this job,” he said. “I should have known better, absolutely. There’s no question about that. … People also say, ‘You should have stopped it.’ I didn’t have the strength of character at the time to do that. I wish I did.”
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