I've read Billy Bush's pro forma apology for being Donald Trump's wing man in the now infamous sleaze fest of comments about women. "Obviously I'm embarrassed and ashamed. It's no excuse, but this happened 11 years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along."
Fortunately, his employer, NBC, didn't brush off his behavior as simple immaturity when the company decided to suspend him from the "Today" show where he is a host. "Let me be clear — there is simply no excuse for Billy's language and behavior on that tape," Noah Oppenheim, the NBC executive in charge of the "Today" show, stated.
Now, NBC should fire him. Bush, a first cousin to former President George W. Bush, has always been a fawning twit of an interviewer, ingratiating himself with celebrities when he was co-host of the entertainment news show "Access Hollywood," prattling on about how great they are and how much he loves hanging out with them. (Does he honestly think these people are his friends?)
But he took that pandering to an appalling level on his "Access Hollywood" bus ride with Donald Trump in 2005 as they motored to the set of the soap opera "Days of Our Lives" so that Trump could make a cameo appearance. For part of the time, there were seven other people on board the bus, including a camera crew and a producer.
In the tape, made public Friday by the Washington Post, Bush listens to Trump's lewd comments about a woman named Nancy (now identified as Nancy O'Dell, Bush's co-host at "Access Hollywood" at the time) whom he "moved on" unsuccessfully.
"I moved on her like a …. But I couldn't get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she's now got the big phony tits and everything."
Bush eggs on Trump, cackling at his comments and eagerly adding his own support.
Catching sight of the "Days of Our Lives" actress, Arianne Zucker, who would be appearing on the soap with Trump, Bush exclaims: "Sheesh, your girl's hot as [expletive]. In the purple."
"Whoa! Whoa!" says Trump.
"Yes! The Donald has scored. Whoa, my man!" exclaims Bush.
When Trump brags about how he can kiss any woman he wants — "I don't even wait" — because he's a star, Bush says, "Whatever you want."
And then, perhaps not wanting to be trumped by Trump in the lewdness department, Bush starts waxing rudely about Zucker:
"Uh, yeah, those legs, all I can see is the legs."
Trump adds: "Ooh, nice legs, huh?"
Bush: "Oof, get out of the way, honey. Oh, that's good legs. Go ahead."
This, by the way, from a man who, was at the time, the married father of daughters. (Today, he has three.)
Bush, who recently got promoted to the "Today" show, has brought his same fawning mien to the third hour of the show — which, truth be told, degenerates from the more newsy 7 to 9 a.m. segment into a silly chatterfest.
If NBC does dismiss him, we shouldn't look at this as a case of Bush paying a higher price than Trump for their misogynistic convo. Bush may lose his job, but Trump is likely to lose the election — for this, and, of course, numerous other reasons.
Up to now, Bush, as a TV host, has just been cringeworthy. Now, he's disgusting.