- The Washington Times - Monday, May 22, 2017

In his first interview since he was fired from the “Today” show, Billy Bush said he can’t ignore the “glaring” irony that he is out of a job while Donald Trump went on to become president of the United States.

Mr. Bush, who was fired after a 2005 recording leaked of Mr. Trump discussing the inappropriate treatment of women with the then-“Access Hollywood” host, opened up about the controversy with The Hollywood Reporter in a lengthy interview published Sunday.

“I will admit the irony is glaring. [Trump] has his process for his participation [in the tape], and I have mine,” he said. “I’ve come out of this with a deeper understanding of how women can connect to the feeling of having to fight extra hard for an even playing field. The ground isn’t even. Maybe it’s improving, but still it isn’t even.

“When a woman watches that tape — and this is what really hit me — they may be asking themselves, ‘Is that what happens when I walk out of a room? When I walk out of a meeting, is that what they’re saying about me? Are they sizing me up?’ I can’t live with that,” he said. “If a moment like that arose again, I would shut it down quickly. I am in the women-raising business, exclusively. I have three daughters — Mary, Lillie, Josie — and I care very much about the world and the people they encounter.”

Mr. Bush said the past seven and a half months have been a “roller coaster” of soul searching and self reflection. He said at the end of the day the tape controversy made him a “better, fuller man.”

“I’ve tried really hard to responsibly address, accept and apologize for a really horrible moment and to work on myself,” he told THR.

Mr. Bush also rejected Mr. Trump’s description of the secretly recorded 2005 conversation as being “locker room banter” between men.

“I’m in a lot of locker rooms, I am an athlete, and no, that is not the type of conversation that goes on or that I’ve participated in.” he said.

Still, he doesn’t think Mr. Trump, who was overheard saying he can do anything he wants to women because he’s famous, was made in seriousness.

“I felt that, in that moment, he was being typically Donald, which is performing and shocking,” he said. “Almost like Andrew Dice Clay, the stand-up comedian: Does he really do the things that he’s saying or is that his act? And in Donald’s case, I equated it that way. When he said what he said, I’d like to think if I had thought for a minute that there was a grown man detailing his sexual assault strategy to me, I’d have called the FBI.”

Asked if he thinks Mr. Trump regrets his comments, Mr. Bush replied, “I don’t know. I don’t know.”

He said he hasn’t spoken to the president since before he announced his candidacy in June 2015.

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