(USA TODAY/Maria Puente) — Billy Bush has been cut from NBC's Today show for his role in enabling Donald Trump's lewd talk about women in a 2005 hot-mic tape. Settlement details were not immediately disclosed.
The end came on Monday after the network spent over a week negotiating the terms of departure with Bush and his crisis lawyer, which followed a weekend of internal discussion about whether to punish him and how.
Hours prior, a CNN interview with Melania Trump was released in which she said Bush "egged on" Trump in the tape. She said Bush and Trump were engaged in "boy talk" and that Trump was "led on, like egged on, from the host to say dirty and bad stuff."
A note went out to NBC staff from executive producer Noah Oppenheim on Monday, announcing that "Billy Bush will be leaving the TODAY show’s 9am hour, effective today. While he was a new member of the TODAY team, he was a valued colleague and longtime member of the broader NBC family. We wish him success as he goes forward."
Bush released his own statement through NBC. "I am deeply grateful for the conversations I’ve had with my daughters, and for all of the support from family, friends and colleagues. I look forward to what lies ahead," he said.
Thus ends Bush's abbreviated time at Today, NBC's beleaguered morning show, where Bush was promoted to co-host the third hour only this summer, after 12 years as an anchor on NBC's entertainment-news show, Access Hollywood.
Bush's fate hinged on what he knew about Trump's toxic tape, when he knew it and whether and when he told his new bosses at NBC News about it as soon as Trump declared he was running for the GOP nomination for president.
Bush, 45, could not have been indifferent to the ground-changing impact of the tape in presidential politics: He's the nephew of former President George H.W. Bush and cousin to former President George W. Bush and his brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who was thoroughly trashed and then trounced by Trump in the GOP primary.
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