“He said it. ‘Grab ’em by the p***y,’” Bush said in an op-ed published in the New York Times. “Of course he said it.”
In the 2005 recording, Trump, who was the star of The Apprentice at the time, made the comments while on an Access Hollywood bus with then-host Bush. At one point, Trump describes trying to have sex with a married woman. He also brags about women letting him kiss and grab them because he is famous.
“When you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”
The tape surfaced last year and again recently after the Times reported the president suggested to a senator, and again to an adviser, this year that tape was not authentic. The newspaper didn’t name the individuals.
The recording prompted outrage in the month leading up to the U.S. election.
“I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more-than-a-decade-old video are one of them,” he said in October 2016.
Last week, Access Hollywood fired back at the report of Trump’s claim.
Hosts Natalie Morales and Kit Hoover addressed the report and the end of Monday night’s show.
“According to the New York Times, President Trump told two people that the Access Hollywood bus tape, the one where he bragged about grabbing women by you-know-what is fake,” Hoover said.
“Let us make this perfectly clear, the tape is very real. Remember his excuse at the time was ‘Locker room talk.’ He said every one of those words,” Morales told viewers.
Bush went on to say Sunday there were “seven other guys present on the bus at the time” in which all of them thought they were “listening to a crass stand-up act.”
“Surely, we thought, none of this was real,” Bush said in the op-ed. “We now know better.”
Following the Times report, the White House insisted Trump hadn’t changed his tone about the recording.
“The president addressed this. This was litigated and certainly answered during the election by the overwhelming support for the president and the fact that he is sitting here in the Oval Office today,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. “He’s made his position on that clear, at that time, as have the American people in their support of him.
“The president hasn’t changed his position, I think of anything that the president questions is it’s the media’s reporting on that accuracy,” Sanders added.
Bush addressed the report of Trump questioning the authenticity of the recording, saying: “This has hit a raw nerve in me.”
“I can only imagine how it has reopened the wounds of the women who came forward with their stories about him, and did not receive enough attention,” Bush said. “This country is currently trying to reconcile itself to years of power abuse and sexual misconduct. Its leader is wantonly poking the bear.”
Bush spent more than a decade with the entertainment news show, before taking a job with NBC’s Today show. He was then axed following the leak of the 2005 recording.
—with a file from the Associated Press