Though now-President Donald Trump has long brushed off his infamous recorded Access Hollywood conversation with Billy Bush as “locker room talk,” the former Today cohost seems to characterize the hot mic comments much differently.
Speaking out in a revealing new interview in the Hollywood Reporter‘s May 24 issue, Bush said, “I’m in a lot of locker rooms, I am an athlete, and no, that is not the type of conversation that goes on or that I’ve participated in.”
Ahead of the 2016 election last November, a video recording of Trump making comments about groping and trying to have sex with women during a 2005 Access Hollywood interview with Bush was released.
“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,” Trump could be heard saying to Bush on the tape. He continued, “And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.”
Added Trump, “Grab them by the p—y. You can do anything.”
RELATED VIDEO: Watch: Natasha Stoynoff Breaks Silence, Accuses Donald Trump of Sexual Attack
Immediately following the release of the tape – and subsequent backlash – Trump issued a statement saying, “This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”
Later, during the second presidential debate, Trump doubled down on his stance, asserting again, “This was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it.”
“I apologize to my family. To the American people. Certainly I’m not proud of it. But this is locker room talk. When we have a world where you have ISIS chopping off heads, where you have [ISIS] frankly drowning people in steel cages, wars and horrible, horrible sights all over, so many bad things happening.”
He continued further, “Yes, I’m very embarrassed by it. I hate it. But it’s locker room talk and it’s one of those things. I going to knock the hell out of ISIS. We’re going to defeat ISIS.”
Asked if that aspect of Trump’s statement was true, Bush told the Hollywood Reporter, “I don’t know who he is. We don’t have a personal relationship and never have.”
Of the 2005 moment, Bush said, “He was being typically Donald, which is performing and shocking.”
“Almost like Andrew Dice Clay, the stand-up comedian: Does he really do the things that he’s saying or is that his act? And in Donald’s case, I equated it that way,” Bush said in the new interview. “When he said what he said, I’d like to think if I had thought for a minute that there was a grown man detailing his sexual assault strategy to me, I’d have called the FBI.”
For his own involvement in the conversation, Bush was fired from Today several days after the tape’s release.
RELATED VIDEO: I Was ‘Gutted’: Billy Bush Breaks His Silence on the Infamous Trump Tape
Bush has also admitted, now, that “Looking back upon what was said on that bus, I wish I had changed the topic. [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.”