Billy Bush: ‘Of Course’ ‘Access Hollywood’ Tape Is Real, ‘He Said It’

FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2014 file photo, Billy Bush arrives at the Operation Smile's 2014 Smile Gala in Beverly Hills, Calif. NBC News has fired "Today" show host Billy Bush, who was caught on tape in a vulgar conversation about women with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump before an "Access Hollywood" appearance. Bush was suspended at the morning show two days after contents of the 2005 tape were reported on Oct. 7. NBC and Bush's representatives had been negotiating terms of his exit before Monday's announcement. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
Richard Shotwell/Invision

Former “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush over the weekend put to rest any doubts about the authenticity of the infamous recording in which Donald Trump is heard bragging about groping women.

“He said it. ‘Grab ‘em by the pussy,’ Bush wrote in an editorial published in The New York Times on Sunday.

Of course he said it,” he continued. “And we laughed along, without a single doubt that this was hypothetical hot air from America’s highest-rated bloviator. Along with Donald Trump and me, there were seven other guys present on the bus at the time, and every single one of us assumed we were listening to a crass standup act. He was performing. Surely, we thought, none of this was real. We now know better.”

Bush’s decision to set the record straight comes as the President has reportedly been questioning the authenticity of the “Access Hollywood” tape in recent weeks, floating the idea to aides and at least one U.S. senator that the voice on the tape is not his. That’s hit “a raw nerve” for Bush, who expressed sympathy for the women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct.

“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,” he wrote. “This country is currently trying to reconcile itself to years of power abuse and sexual misconduct. Its leader is wantonly poking the bear.”

Bush, who was fired from NBC after the tape surfaced, outlined the allegations Trump accusers Natasha Stoynoff, Rachel Crooks, Jessica Leeds, Jill Harth and Kristin Anderson have made against the President, saying their stories stack up against what he heard Trump say that day on the bus.

“I believe her,” he said. “To these women: I will never know the fear you felt or the frustration of being summarily dismissed and called a liar, but I do know a lot about the anguish of being inexorably linked to Donald Trump. You have my respect and admiration. You are culture warriors at the forefront of necessary change.”

Read the full editorial here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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