As a fellow TV host, Brooke Burke-Charvet says she’s “shocked” to hear Billy Bush may not return to Today after a 2005 recording of a lewd conversation between the former Access Hollywood host and presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“I have great sympathy for Billy because I’ve had to wear a microphone for 12 hours a day on shows. You go to the bathroom and you are mic’d,” Burke-Charvet tells PEOPLE. “So, kind of in his defense, there is a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes. Quite honestly, sometimes you’re trying to just roll through a conversation without any commitments to it.”
Burke-Charvet is quick to point out that she has only heard Trump’s side of the private conversation. But she did see, later in the tape, Bush asking Days of Our Lives actress Arianne Zucker, “How about a little hug for the Donald?” and if she would rather go on a date with him or Trump.
“I feel like Today did have to address it because they have a strong female audience and America is pissed,” says Burke-Charvet. “I feel for Billy now because I know how much is captured and how many people are really listening when you are on a set and you have a microphone on. I don’t think America probably understands that there are a lot of inappropriate conversations that happen all the time.”
The actress and host says she’s sad to see that the 2016 presidential election has “turned into a joke” and doesn’t feel the second presidential debate was something families could watch together.
“I was watching the debate on Sunday and I had to turn it off because I was watching with my children,” she says. “The things that [Trump] says — he fights like a child. He has no filter and says anything and everything he wants.”
Ultimately, she feels Bush “was in the wrong place and talking to the wrong person.”
“I feel for him,” she says. “He just moved his family to New York for the Today job. That’s a big deal. Now what is he supposed to do?”