September 10, 2019 12:02 pm

Billy Bush talks Donald Trump ‘Access Hollywood’ tape: ‘I got taken out, but I wasn’t the target’

This Sept. 4, 2019 photo shows former 'Today' show co-host Billy Bush posing for a portrait in New York. Three years after being fired by NBC due to the infamous 'Access Hollywood' tape, Bush will host the revamped pop culture news show, 'Extra,' beginning on Monday.

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Nearly three years after being axed by the Today Show, Billy Bush, the famed American broadcaster, has made his return to television.

Though he was just revealed as the co-host for the entertainment show Extra, his first comeback was an interview with Gayle King during an episode of CBS This Morning on Monday

The in-depth interview offered more insight behind the infamous Access Hollywood tape from 2005, which featured him and Donald Trump.

The tape in question — the one that got the 47-year-old host fired back in late 2016 — was recorded while Trump, now 73, was still the host of The Apprentice.

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The controversial clip features the current U.S. President making a number of vulgar comments to Bush. He describes trying to have sex with a married woman and then brags about women letting him kiss and grab them due to his level of fame.

“When you’re a star,” Trump said, “they let you do it. You can do anything.”

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“I was not prepared for what happened,” said Bush on the leaking of the tape. “It happened like that. I took the car to the airport, got on the plane, and boom.”

“And you knew there was a tape?” asked King, 64.

“Everybody did,” he claimed.

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

The Washington Post via Getty Images

“Uh-huh, King said. “I didn’t.”

“Oh. Well, everybody at the network [did],” claimed Bush, suggesting that his former NBC co-workers were always aware of the situation.

“I was comfortable that it wasn’t going to be weaponized,” he added, before saying that was how he felt the tape was used. “I got taken out, but I wasn’t the target,” Bush said.

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Bush said that for a while, he believed his career would be safe, despite the leaked audio. He said that his lawyer told him, “‘You’re good. Don’t worry about it. It’s not you. You didn’t say anything.'”

He later revealed that his attorney was also the one to tell him he had lost his job on the Today Show.

Reflecting on why he was so dismissive of Trump’s inappropriate remarks, Bush admitted that he just wanted to be liked and that he was still in his first year on the job, so he didn’t want to lose the respect of either Trump or the network.

“Trump’s the kind of guy who would say, ‘Forget Billy Bush,'” he said. “Then I might have gotten, ‘Hey, why did you lose Trump? He’s the biggest guest we have.’ You [feel] a little anxious around him because you just want it to end well and get out.”

“You want people to like you,” he continued. “I became a very different guy. So the guy that got fired — no question — was a very different guy.”

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Bush said he believes the tape was a “tipping point” in developing the #MeToo movement. “It was a very hot, emotional time,” he said, “and maybe that helped trigger it. I think that’s a good thing.”

When asked by King if he was angry at Trump following his exile from the television industry, Bush said. “No, … not for that. He was being him.”

WATCH: Billy Bush tells Donald Trump ‘that is your voice’ on Access Hollywood tape — ‘I was there’ (Dec. 5, 2017)

“I think part of that personality and character was why he was successful in a boardroom,” Bush said. “[He was] making people fight over lemonade stands.”

Bush revealed that he felt he “was due for some kind of reckoning in [his] life,” as he believed he hadn’t even really been through anything difficult.”

Global News has reached out to a representative of NBC seeking comment.

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca

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