Billy Bush Apologizes for Lewd Donald Trump Conversation: ‘I’m Embarrassed & Ashamed’

Elizabeth Wagmeister

Billy Bush has broken his silence amid the firestorm stirred by the release of a recording from 2005 of the “Today” anchor and Donald Trump discussing women and sexual conquests in vulgar terms.

In the video, Bush, who was then a co-anchor of NBC’s “Access Hollywood,” and Trump were caught on hot mics, speaking in lewd terms about a female TV personality, now identified as former “Access Hollywood” co-host Nancy O’Dell. Trump and Bush also spoke about using the power of celebrity to achieve sexual conquests, comments that have drawn vociferous condemnation of Trump, the Republican candidate for president.

The fallout from the recording has also been swift for Bush, who is heard agreeing and laughing with Trump. Trump and Bush were together for an “Access Hollywood” segment on Trump’s cameo on the NBC daytime soap “Days of Our Lives.”

Bush issued an apology Friday evening.

“Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed. It’s no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry,” Bush said in a statement.

In the video, Trump is heard speaking about a woman, saying, “I did try and f— her. She was married.”

Speaking about “Days of Our Lives” actress Arianne Zucker, Bush makes a comment about her being “hot as s—.”

Trump, who was about to share a scene with Zucker, says: “I’ve gotta use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful…I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait…And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.”

Bush replied, “Whatever you want.”

Bush worked for “Access Hollywood” from 2001 to 2016. He departed the newsmagazine show earlier this year for a permanent gig on NBC’s “Today”as host of the show’s 9 a.m. hour. Bush got off to a rocky start on “Today” when his interview with Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte was discredited after Lochte admitted to having fabricated the story of being robbed at gunpoint while in Rio.

“Today” has not responded to Variety‘s request for comment, nor has “Access Hollywood.”

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