Billy Bush Defends Himself, Donald Trump Amid Return to NBC's Extra: "I'm Not Going to Be Super Judge-y"

Network executives at NBC installed Billy Bush as host of Extra three years after the disgraced former Access Hollywood figure was outed alongside Donald Trump in a lewd audiotape recording.

Bush, who is cousins with former President George W. Bush, said he is "not at all" angry at now-President Donald Trump for bragging he could grab women "by the p***y" in a lewd 2005 tape leaked to the media in September 2016. NBC immediately fired Bush after the audiotape was leaked at the height of the 2016 presidential election drama between Hillary Clinton and Trump. In the 2005 tape, Bush can be heard agreeing with Trump that celebrities can "do whatever [they] want" to women.

In an interview this week with CBS This Morning, Bush said he's excited about his "second chance" TV comeback.

Bush will begin hosting NBC's Extra on Monday alongside fellow co-hosts Tanika Ray and Renee Bargh. He released a promotional video this week saying he has "overcome" the Trump video ordeal, although in discussion with CBS, Bush said he didn't want to be labeled a "victim."

"I've learned a few things during my time off, or my time out, bad things happen to us all," Bush said in his TV promo this week. "The ingredients of our disasters differ but the shock to the system and the struggle to overcome we share. Going forward, I will no doubt have to report on people who have had a bad moment. I'm especially interested in seeing them own it and get back into it."

In an interview with CBS's Gayle King released Tuesday, she asked Bush, "Are you angry at Donald Trump?" for being involved in his 3-year banishment from television. "No," he replied.

"No, I mean, he was being him," Bush said of Trump's 2005 leaked commentary. "I think part of that personality and character was why he was successful in a boardroom, making people fight over lemonade stands."

Bush said he was "due for some kind of reckoning in my life" because "I don't think I'd ever really been through anything difficult," before elaborating on how he used to rail against people who made minor mistakes in the past. "I think I needed to grow up a bit. Even though I was, you know, in my 40s."

"I look forward to interviews," he continued. "I look forward to sitting with people who have been through something. And I hope that they look forward to sitting with me, because they know, 'Well, there's one person that's not gonna be getting super-judge-y on me from their perch.'"

Actor Alec Baldwin also sat down with the television host, but other networks were not as friendly with Bush and his return to the limelight. During a Tuesday morning broadcast highlighting Bush's self-described "redemption," CNN played a "graphic content" warning about viewer discretion just before airing Bush and Trump's conversation.

Bush told CBS that the video tape was "weaponized" against him and was known by everyone at NBC.

In response to Bush announcing his excitement about forgiving people who "make mistakes" in the future, CNN host Christine Romans quipped, "Or not do it in the first place."

In the 2005 video, Trump can be heard saying, "And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything," before Bush responds, "Do whatever you want."

"Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything," Trump agrees.

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Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood” interviews Donald Trump at a “Celebrity Apprentice” red carpet event at Trump Tower in New York on January 20, 2015. Rob Kim/Getty Images
Billy Bush Defends Himself, Donald Trump Amid Return to NBC's Extra: "I'm Not Going to Be Super Judge-y" | U.S.