In the controversial clip, Trump, who was the star of The Apprentice at the time, made vulgar 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.”
Colbert asked Bush about his decision to publish the op-ed and the timing.
“He, last week, for some reason came out with, ‘That’s not my voice on the tape.’ Like I said, you can’t say that,” Bush said. “That is your voice, I was there, you were there, that’s your voice on the tape.”
“You don’t get to say that,” Bush said of Trump’s denial.
He continued: “Because I was there, and the last 14 months of my life, I have been dealing with it. You dealt with it for 14 minutes and went on to be the president.”
Bush’s visit with Colbert marked his first late-night interview since the tape surfaced and he lost his Today show job.
He told Colbert of the first time he heard the 2005 tape. “The first time I ever heard it was three days before it leaked,” Bush revealed. “It was a gut punch, it’s a gut punch now. It will always be.”
Bush continued: “At the time, it was 2005, and his ratings were through the roof and he was the big star of NBC. And I sort of equated what he was saying to some kind of crass stand-up act … If I had thought there was a man detailing a sexual assault strategy to me, I would’ve called the FBI, not just reported it to my executive producer. That was it for me … Everybody sort of had to kiss the ring of the Donald because he was making so much money for NBC.”
He also told Colbert that he was offended by Trump’s denial on a personal level, and on behalf of the women who have gone on the record to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct.
“You’ve got 20 women … who used their names,” Bush said. “We’ve got powerful people being held accountable now, and sometimes there’s anonymous sources. All of these women came out with their names and told their detailed accounts. So when he said this, it infuriated me on the personal front, and then I ended up Googling and I read an article with all of these women’s accounts.”
“As I read these, I said, ‘20 women don’t get together and say, ‘Hey, you know what would be really fun? Let’s take down a powerful guy together, haha.’ No they don’t,” Bush said.
Bush and Colbert’s 12-minute conversation also addressed the “unbelievable irony” of Bush losing his job at NBC upon the tape’s release, while Trump went on to become president of the United States.
“The very day that he was swearing in as the president, I was checking in to this soul-searching retreat in Santalina, California,” Bush revealed. “It was the beginning of me saying, ‘All right, get up, stop being sorry for yourself. There’s life to live. Get better. Be a better man. Be a better person.’ So I passed a television in the office when I was checking in, and he’s got the hand up, and I’m going into my little cabin to do the work. Tough. Irony.”
Though, Bush said that the last year has been “a difficult time,” he also praised the current cultural shift surrounding sexual assault.
“Women must be believed. We have to find our way to have the dialogue,” he said. “I’m worried that the dialogue isn’t going to be around. We get onto the next thing. The next outrage comes. We have to continue it all the way through, and I hope we do that.”
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airs weeknights at 11:35 on Global.
Watch Bush and Colbert’s conversation in the spot above.