Billy Bush has officially been removed from the “Today” cast. The host was suspended pending further review on Oct. 10 after a leaked tape of he and presidential hopeful Donald J. Trump partaking in a lewd conversation hit the web.
The decision was handed down from NBC News executives on Monday. “Today” co-host Matt Lauer briefly touched on Bush’s removal from the cast Tuesday morning, sharing with fans that while he was a “valued colleague” his behavior in the 2005 tape forced the network to make a difficult decision. Lauer then read a portion of Bush’s statement about leaving the show, which claimed that he was excited to see “what lies ahead.” In closing, he wished his former co-host “the very best” from he and the rest of the “Today” team.
“NBC News announced last night that Billy Bush would be leaving the ‘Today’ show effective immediately, noting that he was a valued colleague and a longtime member of the broader NBC family,” Lauer said during Tuesday’s broadcast. “A statement Billy released separately last night read in part, ‘I look forward to what lies ahead,’ and of course, all of us here at ‘Today’ wish Billy the very best.”
During a recent interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Melania Trump was asked her opinion on the tape starring her husband and Bush, 44. During that conversation she suggested that the comments made on that tape were simply “boy talk,” adding that she felt her husband was being “egged on” by Bush. She added that while she had reportedly never heard her husband use such language, she believed it was just the way men — or “boys” as she called them — talk when they’re together.
“I heard many different stuff — boys talk,” she told Cooper. “The boys, the way they talk when they grow up and they want to sometimes show each other, ‘Oh, this and that’ and talking about the girls. But yes, I was surprised, of course.”
Bush has said no more about the Trump tape leak since it occurred. The audio/video in question, first made public by The Washington Post, starred he and the presidential candidate and was taken on the “Access Hollywood” bus. The pair were set to be escorted around the set of “Days of Our Lives.” Before their tour the former “The Apprentice” star recounted a time in which he attempted to make a move on a married woman and was turned down. Bush then commented on the appearance of Arianne Zucker, who was showing them around the set that day. He called her “hot as s---,” at which time Donald, 70, suggested that he should pop a few Tic Tacs in the event that he decided to try and kiss her — something he claimed he did often with women.
“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,” he told Bush at the time.
It is not clear at this time what Bush plans to do following his “Today” exit. There has been some speculation that he may appear on “Dancing With the Stars” in Season 24 as an attempt to redeem himself in the eyes of the public. Those rumors remain unfounded.