TV personality Billy Bush on Sunday said no one should doubt that President Trump in 2005 made lewd comments about grabbing women’s genitalia.
“He said it,” Bush wrote in an op-ed posted by The New York Times.
Bush, along with Trump, was caught on a hot microphone joking about sexual assault during the taping of an Access Hollywood segment. A videotape of the remarks, released by The Washington Post a month before Election Day 2016, prompted 16 women to come forward and accuse Trump of sexually inappropriate behavior and assault.
The revelations threatened to derail Trump’s presidential campaign.
At the time, the candidate apologized for the remarks, calling them “locker room talk.” But since then he has privately suggested that the footage is not authentic, The Times reported last week. Shortly before Trump's inauguration in January, it reported, Trump told a Republican senator that he wanted to investigate the tape, saying, “We don’t think that was my voice.”
In his op-ed, Bush, who lost his Today show job in the wake of the Access Hollywood revelations, said the remarks were authentic. He noted that “seven other guys” heard them and that “every single one of us assumed we were listening to a crass standup act. He was performing. Surely, we thought, none of this was real.”
Trump’s recent doubts about the recording’s authenticity, Bush said, have “hit a raw nerve in me.”
“I can only imagine how it has reopened the wounds of the women who came forward with their stories about him, and did not receive enough attention,” he wrote. “This country is currently trying to reconcile itself to years of power abuse and sexual misconduct. Its leader is wantonly poking the bear.”
Follow Greg Toppo on Twitter: @gtoppo