- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Billy Bush, the NBC “Today” co-host suspended for his part in the secretly-recorded 2005 interaction with Donald Trump, bragged to coworkers months ago about having possession of the recording, PageSix.com reported Monday night, citing “multiple” unnamed sources familiar with the controversy.

Mr. Bush, who is first cousin to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican primary opponent of Mr. Trump’s, apparently never told the appropriate network executives about the existence of the tape when he was hired for the “Today” show, Page Six said.

Billy was bragging about the tape to other NBC staff while in Rio. If he knew about the tape, and remembered the full extent of such an explosive conversation with a presidential candidate and didn’t disclose that to NBC News, that is a very, very serious problem,” Page Six quoted an anonymous network “insider” as saying.

Mr. Bush, a longtime radio and TV personality, quickly issued a statement after news of the 2005 hot-mic audio broke on Friday, apologizing for his conduct in the incident, where he failed to rebuke Mr. Trump and even egged him on.

“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,” he said, Eonline.com reported on Friday.

As for Mr. Bush’s suspension, which at this point remains open-ended, Entertainment Tonight quoted an unnamed source on Monday as saying staff for the “Today” show are “comfortable with how the situation is being handled.”

Mr. Bush was hired by the “Today” show in May to co-host the 9 a.m. hour of the program, a portion of the program given mostly to lighter feature segments and entertainment news. 

Mr. Bush is not the only member of Bush clan with ties to NBC News.

Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of President George W. Bush, has been a “Today” show correspondent since 2009. She is based in Washington, D.C., and “covers a variety of human interest and feature stories,” according to her official biography.

Chelsea Clinton, daughter to former President Bill Clinton and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, also previously worked for NBC News as a special correspondent, leaving the network in August 2014 after three years.

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