While Lauer was fired last week over an allegation of sexual misconduct and the belief there were more credible allegations coming, NBC famously sacked Today co-host Bush for giggling in the 2005 Access Hollywood tape when Trump bragged about moving on Bush colleague Nancy O’Dell “like a bitch,” and giggled some more when Trump boasted about being so famous he could grab women “by the p*ssy.”
“Look, it was a difficult time, it was very hot emotionally in the country. A lot of people were not comfortable with the man who was close to winning the election, and a lot of things happened quickly,” Bush vamped. A month later, he insisted his boss acknowledged “we may have moved a little quickly.” He did not elaborate and Colbert didn’t ask.
Stephen Colbert: Donald Trump 'P*ssy' Tape Denial Launches Billy Bush Career Resuscitation Tour
Colbert instead asked, “Did they move on you like a bitch?” stealing one of Trump’s lines from the tape.
“Matt Lauer controlled that show,” Colbert persisted. “He could have protected anybody; he did famously protect people from being fired on that show.”
“Do you wish he would have protected you?” Colbert said, poking the wound.
Bush told Colbert that Lauer told him privately he “took the line” with Bush’s boss – to no avail, apparently. Bush says he believed Lauer and thanked him for the effort.
When the Washington Post made public the Access Hollywood videotape, because NBC News did not, Bush had expected to be given the chance to apologize to Today viewers. Instead, NBC News suspended Bush, then gave him the hook. “I would have liked chance to have been able to address the audience. But it was right after the debate, and the tape made it in time for the debate,” Bush explained.
Colbert and Bush never settled why Trump had “stuck his finger in the door hinge” when he started telling people privately, including at least one member of the U.S. Senate, that he does not think the voice on the Access Hollywood tape is his. “It’s the dumbest thing he could have done. He’s a dumb, dumb person,” Colbert said.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.