In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter for their May 24 issue, the former Today show cohost opened up about about the “grab them by the p—-” recording that got Bush fired and caused a media storm about Donald Trump‘s political campaign back in October.
Bush, 45, says he still has no idea who leaked the tape, but that he “would have welcomed addressing the audience” about the remarks made before he was abruptly fired from Today. He also claims he’s only seen the tape three times — once, three days before the news broke, and twice more before his interview with THR.
Watching the video, he says, left him “totally and completely gutted.”
“Looking back upon what was said on that bus, I wish I had changed the topic,” he admits. “[Trump] liked TV and competition. I could’ve said, ‘Can you believe the ratings on whatever?’ But I didn’t have the strength of character to do it.”
“Plenty of people” at NBC knew about the tape, he said. (Access Hollywood, which Bush used to co-host airs on NBC, as does Today.)
Despite being fired from Today several days after the tape’s release, Bush says he continues to remain in contact with some of his former colleagues. He recently paid a visit to new mom Hoda Kotb and her baby, Haley Joy, and was invited to lunch with Matt Lauer.
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Of his departure from Today, Bush says he was just beginning to gain his rhythm before he was let go.
“I was kind of bopping along, and I don’t know if it was God or what that said, ‘OK, you’ve developed. You’re a pretty good guy. Let’s see how you handle this.’ And ka-boom!” he says. “It all comes apart.”
Bush hopes to return to TV, telling the outlet that he’s been developing a series geared to show audiences his deeper, more empathetic side. The show will focus on pop culture, sports and interviews, but there are few details on what it will actually involve.