Billy Bush confirmed in an interview that his cousin, former President George W. Bush, phoned him after the October 2016 release of the blockbuster tape of the former “Access Hollywood” host’s infamous exchange with Donald Trump in 2005.
"He called me, and said, 'You're not laying in bed, are you?'” Bush told CBS News’ Gayle King in a segment that aired Tuesday. “I was like — I got out of bed — 'No, why would I be laying in bed?’”
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Bush said he asked his cousin, “'Should I do this? Should I do that? I'm so mad, I should fight back,’” but the former president responded, “‘Nope. Just, you know, take what they give you and walk away and work on you.’”
Bush was suspended and subsequently fired from his role as a co-host of NBC’s “Today” after the leak of his conversation with Trump, which upended the 2016 presidential race and featured the future president bragging about sexually assaulting women with impunity.
But he returned to television after three years on Monday as the new host of “Extra,” telling viewers in his first appearance at the helm of the broadcast that he had “learned a few things" during his "time off, or time out.”
Bush has previously disagreed with Trump’s characterization of his lewd remarks on the “Access Hollywood” tape as “locker room talk” and argued in a New York Times op-ed that “of course” Trump made the controversial comments after the Times had reported the president had suggested in private conversations the recording was not authentic.
Still, Bush insisted during Tuesday’s interview with CBS that he was not angry with Trump for his role in the episode that resulted in the TV presenter being booted off the air while the real estate mogul and former star of “The Apprentice” ascended to the White House.
“Not for that,” Bush said. “No. I mean he — he was being him. I think part of that personality and character is why he was successful in a boardroom making people fight over lemonade stands.”