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Trump Caught On Tape Making Lewd Remarks About Women In 2005


Eleven-year-old outtakes in which Donald Trump spoke in vulgar, predatory terms about women also disclosed another man in that conversation.


ARIANNE ZUCKER: Are you ready to be a soap star?

DONALD TRUMP: We're ready. Let's go. Make me a soap star.

BILLY BUSH: How about a little hug for the Donald? He just got off the bus.

ZUCKER: Would you like a little hug, darling?

TRUMP: OK. Absolutely. Melania said this was OK.

BUSH: How about a little hug for Bushy (ph)? I just got off the bus.

SIMON: He's got that other voice - Billy Bush, a nephew and cousin of two U.S. presidents. At the time, Bush was co-host of the Soft Focus Entertainment news show "Access Hollywood." He is now one of the co-hosts of NBC's "Today Show." We're joined now from New York by NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik. David, thanks for being with us.


SIMON: Set the scene for us. They're onboard a bus. Billy Bush was the correspondent.

FOLKENFLIK: Yeah, they're on essentially what's, like, a tour bus on a Hollywood set. They're coming in to tape or to capture the taping of a Donald Trump appearance on an NBC soap opera. You know, so you've got an NBC entertainment show capturing Donald Trump, at that time an NBC reality show host, appearing on an NBC soap opera. Billy Bush is there to capture it for "Access Hollywood." And, you know, he's caught on mic, too. We have another clip of what he sounded like. He's not just sort of acquiescing to what Donald Trump had to say.


TRUMP: Then, all of a sudden, I see her. She's now got the big, phony [expletive] and everything. She's totally changed her look.

BUSH: Sheesh, your girl's hot as [expletive] - in the purple.

FOLKENFLIK: That last voice, Billy Bush, is - your girl is hot, he's saying, you know, as though that actress belongs to Donald Trump somehow. Billy Bush was essentially not only facilitating but enabling Donald Trump to say what he had to say. You know, Billy Bush, you know - it's a - it is, as we said, a Soft Focus show but an emphasis on access rather than on giving you the news of Hollywood. Clearly, he's reveling in the moment with this other celebrity.

SIMON: Yeah. Of course, we heard yesterday in writing and video from Donald Trump. What have we heard? Billy Bush did release a statement last night.

FOLKENFLIK: Yes, he said, obviously, I'm embarrassed and ashamed. It's no excuse, but this happened 11 years ago. I was younger, less mature and acted foolishly in playing along. I'm very sorry. So in a sense, a real apology. In another sense, he's saying, I was younger. He was in his early 30s - old enough to know better, not not a senior in high school. You know, it's very hard to dismiss this as the kind of locker room talk that Donald Trump initially was saying it was. I asked NBC News - is this sufficient for what we heard on tape? They said, yes, it was a sufficient apology. He's, you know, co-host of this important franchise, the "Today" show, that makes so much money for NBC.

SIMON: But I note, for example, on social media platforms - Twitter and Facebook - this morning, there are - there are some celebrities who were interviewed by Billy Bush who are now joining a chorus of criticism, saying they - nothing like that happened, but they also felt demeaned. I mean, does this take on a life of its own after a while?

FOLKENFLIK: I think that's very much the fear for NBC here. You know, Billy Bush had a rough time over the summer in how he handled the interview of Ryan Lochte, the swimmer who got involved in the controversy down in Rio. And here he is now, still a very new host at the - at the "Today" show and one who seems green and unwilling to sort of exercise any independent moral or journalistic judgment. Why didn't he bring this forward to NBC News? Why was he not talking about this some time ago?

SIMON: NPR's David Folkenflik, thanks so much for being with us.


SIMON: And that second presidential debate, where we're bound to hear more about all of this, is tomorrow night. Our friend and colleague Robert Siegel will anchor live coverage airing on many NPR stations. It begins at 9 p.m. Eastern time, and we will have live fact-checking at Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

David Folkenflik was described by Geraldo Rivera of Fox News as "a really weak-kneed, backstabbing, sweaty-palmed reporter." Others have been kinder. The Columbia Journalism Review, for example, once gave him a "laurel" for reporting that immediately led the U.S. military to institute safety measures for journalists in Baghdad.
Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.

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