This past fall, videotapes were leaked to the press that featured Donald Trump bragging about his sexual conquests, whether they were welcomed advances or not, to then-host of the Today show Billy Bush. In the tapes, which were recorded back in 2005, Bush appeared to egg on Trump's claims and passively accept the former Apprentice host's claims about grabbing women's crotches.
In the aftermath of the scandal, Bush was terminated from his position and has lived in relative seclusion, coming under fire for his behavior in the situation. Trump's punishment was to be elected president of the United States.
In his first on-camera interview since the scandal, Bush revealed to Good Morning America the impact that the scandal had on his family and steps he has taken to be a better person.
More devastating than losing his job, he revealed, was confronting his daughter about the situation.
"Once we settled and got to connect, there was a powerful moment when my now 16-year-old daughter called me in tears and she was really upset and I said, 'Mary, it's going to be okay. You know, don't worry,'" Bush explained. "And she said, 'No, why were you laughing at things that he was saying on that bus? Why were you playing along, dad? It wasn't funny.'"
He added, "I am sorry, and there is no good answer for that."
Bush has two other daughters, with one vowing to never watch the tape and see her dad saying those things, while the other, oldest daughter was much more protective of him.
He admitted to The Hollywood Reporter, "My 18-year-old is more of a fighter. She was like, 'All right, who do I need to take out?'"
Smoothing things over wasn't the only thing Bush attempted to do, as he wanted to try to salvage his work connections, including former co-host Nancy O'Dell.
"I recently sent her a communication, yeah. I need to keep that between me and Nancy," Bush confessed, without confirming whether or not he ever received a reply.
As a part of his healing process, Bush attended a seminar from self-help guru Tony Robbins.
"He walked to the end of the stage, and he pointed at me in the middle of his thing, and he said, 'One moment in your life does not define who you are," Bush recalled of Robbins' seminar. "And the camera hit me, and these people started applauding — it was a little overwhelming but really empowering."
He added, "Later that night, we walked on fire together: 12 feet over 2,200-degree coals."
Much of the internet's ire was focused at Trump for the horrendous comments he made, but social media also targeted Bush for allowing the comments to happen in the first place. Another part of Bush's healing process involved cutting himself off from the outside world.
Bush detailed, "It's not glamorous. It was seven days - no phones, no communication. And it's so overpowering and so draining that you have to sign an agreement that you'll take two days on your own by yourself before you go back to family or friends."
He continued to detail The Hoffman Process, "For 13 hours a day, it's a study on your life and your negative patterns. At one point, you're on your knees with a baseball bat and a pillow in front of you, and you are literally bashing these negative patterns that you've identified in your life."
The result of this experience was Bush identifying some of his negative character traits.
"For me, one was judginess. I look back three years ago, doing Access Hollywood, and some story would come up, and I'd be like, 'Oh, these people, these celebrities, how can they not ba-ba-ba-ba whatever,'" Bush explained. "So that became the moment of real awakening, and it went on from there. I've done everything."
One of the immediate political responses of Trump was to refer to the banter as "locker room talk," implying that speaking about sexual assault so casually is something many men do.
"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," Bush commented.
As far as his responses in the moment, Bush explained that he didn't take Trump seriously, "He's a provocateur. Shocking statements flow like wine from him and he likes to captivate an audience."
"I felt that, in that moment, he was being typically Donald, which is performing and shocking. 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," he added.
The public had one perception of Bush following the incident, but his family had a different perception. Luckily, his wife Sydney was understanding of the controversy.
Bush pointed out, "Sydney knows the environment and the atmosphere I was in at the time, and she knows very well the person she married. She has been very supportive from the very beginning."
Looking back, Bush knows exactly how he'd wished he'd handled it.
Bush explains, "I wish I had changed the topic. I wish I had said: 'Does anyone want water?' or 'It looks like it's gonna rain.' He liked TV and competition. I could've said, 'Can you believe the ratings on whatever?' I didn't have the strength of character to do it."
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[H/T Daily Mail]prev