By Tracy Brown
Los Angeles Times
On Sunday it was revealed that “Today” co-host Billy Bush had been suspended from the show for his part in the leaked recording of a lewd conversation with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. During Monday’s show, Al Roker and Tamron Hall directly addressed Bush’s absence.
“As you can see, Billy Bush is not joining us today, as you’re probably aware,” said Roker at the start of the third hour of the morning news program, which Bush normally co-hosts. “Part of that 2005 ‘Access Hollywood’ taping with Donald Trump that’s been in the news all weekend.”
“NBC, which owns ‘Access Hollywood,’ has suspended Billy for his role in that conversation, pending further review,” added Hall, before turning to Sunday’s presidential debate “where that 2005 tape played a big role.”
Roker, who had been scheduled to be off for the week, was called on to fill in for Bush.
The leaked 2005 recording, obtained by the Washington Post, captured a conversation between Trump and Bush before taping a segment for “Access Hollywood” that involved Trump bragging about his ability to kiss and grope women without their consent because of his status as a celebrity. Bush laughed and egged him on, even as the conversation turned from apparent sexual assault to Trump revealing his plans to “seduce” Bush’s “Access Hollywood” co-host Nancy O’Dell.
Trump issued a video apology late Friday for his remarks and described the exchange as “locker room talk” during Sunday’s presidential debate.
Bush also apologized on Friday in a statement released by NBC News.
“Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed,” said Bush, who was 33 at the time. “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.”