As Alec Baldwin’s version of Donald Trump noted on SNL Saturday, “You have to admit it’s kind of funny that the only Bush that matters in this general election is Billy.”
Billy Bush, former host of Access Hollywood, among the least political members of the Bush family, has found himself at the center of the 2016 presidential campaign.
The recording of Donald Trump’s graphic conversation with Bush in 2005, made public last week, has many Republicans jumping off the Trump train.
It also has journalists scratching their heads. Why, as CNN reports, did the tape sit on a shelf until now? Why didn’t Access Hollywood review its Trump tapes earlier? Why was it the Washington Post that broke the story, rather than NBC, which airs both Access Hollywood and a slate of news programs?
The Post reports that NBC News was aware of the tape, but delayed airing it for four days as lawyers reviewed possible liabilities.
In the meantime, a source called the Post, which broke the news within five hours.
NBC has many entanglements with this story.
Producers at Access Hollywood searched their archives for Trump appearances after publication of an Associated Press report about lewd comments Trump made to female contestants on The Apprentice, yet another NBC program that Trump had starred on.
Expect more video releases from that show. A former producer tweeted Saturday:
— Bill Pruitt (@billpruitt) October 8, 2016
As the interactive Muckety map above illustrates, Bush is a co-anchor of the network’s morning show, Today.
According to Hollywood Reporter, female staffers at Today are unhappy with the comments he made in his chat with Trump.
In a statement released by NBC Universal, Bush said: “Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed. It’s no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry.”
Bush is a nephew of former President George H.W. Bush and first cousin of George W. Bush and Jeb Bush, who lost to Trump in the Republican primaries.
Update: NBC announced after publication of this story that it was suspending Bush “pending further review of this matter.”