After footage leaked of Billy Bush joking with Donald Trump about sexually assaulting women, NBC has announced that the 'Today' show host will not be returning to his spot on Monday.
The days of Billy Bush's life are rapidly going from bad to worse, according to an NBC News spokesperson, who announced that Bush, the first cousin of President George W. Bush and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, will not be returning to the third hour of the Today show on Monday.
It was unclear when, or if, Bush will be returning to the venerable morning show that he officially joined as a co-anchor a mere two months ago.
The 44-year-old former Access Hollywood host has been embroiled in a DEFCOM 1 level controversy since Friday afternoon, when The Washington Post published an 11-year-old video in which Bush participated in a coarse and obscene exchange with Donald Trump about women and women's body parts as the then-Apprentice star prepared to make a cameo appearance on Days of Our Lives.
The video—in which Trump was heard talking into a hot mic, regaling a laughing Bush and others on an Access Hollywood promotional bus concerning his foiled attempts to have sex with Bush's then co-host, Nancy O'Dell—has exploded into a major scandal in the 2016 presidential campaign, prompting scores of Republican office-holders to denounce the Republican nominee, withdraw their support, or otherwise call on Trump to leave the race in favor of his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
Bush, who apologized for his role in the conversation on Friday night, didn't use the same four-letter words and other vulgar language that Trump employed, but he seemed to be egging Trump on as the now-Republican nominee described how because he was famous, he was allowed to kiss beautiful women against their will and grab their genitals.
When soap opera actress Arianne Zucker showed up to greet their bus and escort Trump onto the soap opera's set, Bush and Trump joined in an appraisal of her physical appearance.
Apparently spotting Zucker, Bush exclaims: "Sheeesh, your girl's hot as shit! In the purple."
"Whoa! Whoa!" Trump exclaims.
"Yes! The Donald has scored!" Bush answers. With a raucous laugh, he adds: "Whoa, my man! You gotta look at her… Give her the thumbs-up. You gotta give the thumbs-up… Oh my God!"
Trump then remarks that he's going to use some Tic-Tacs, "just in case I start kissing her," he explains. "When you're a star, they let you do it."
"Whatever you want," Bush agrees.
To general hilarity and laughter among the men, Trump adds: "Grab 'em by the pussy. You can do anything."
A few hours after the video went viral, Bush—the married father of three teenage daughters—issued the following apology: "Obviously I'm embarrassed and ashamed. It's no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago—I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I'm very sorry."
It was unclear Sunday night if that, or any other measure he takes, will be enough to save his job—which depends largely on his appeal to female viewers, a key demographic in Today's third-hour audience.