By Sunday evening, it had become abundantly clear that the “hot mic moment” made public on Friday was going to inflict some damage. Donald Trump spent two days trying to recover and still faced harsh criticism from both Hillary Clinton and Sunday night’s debate moderators.
But Trump wasn’t the only one facing backlash over the tape.
Billy Bush, who was hosting “Access Hollywood” at the time, appeared alongside Trump on the tape. He laughed at Trump’s jokes, and while he made no remarks like those of Trump’s, he did appear to encourage Trump to continue down the lewd path of conversation.
— POLITICO (@politico) October 8, 2016
But by Monday morning, they had changed their tune:
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) October 9, 2016
And they announced that Bush was being suspended indefinitely:
Billy Bush suspended from the "Today" show, NBC News says. Unclear if he will ever return. https://t.co/c6w1xetWbe
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) October 10, 2016
“Today Show” producer Noah Oppenheim released an official statement, which read:
“Let me be clear: There is simply no excuse for Billy’s language and behavior on that tape. NBC has decided to suspend Billy pending further review of this matter.”
Some wondered — as Ted Cruz did about the tape being used against Trump — why NBC had sat on the tape for 11 years instead of suspending Bush or cutting ties with Trump at the time:
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 9, 2016
NBC owned the tape for 11 years — spiked it to protect NBC employees Donald Trump and Billy Bush. https://t.co/SFa1AChbfL
— TakingHayekSeriously (@FriedrichHayek) October 9, 2016
Instead, NBC has allowed Trump to star in the network’s hit reality TV shows “The Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice” for the past six years.
A number felt that Bush’s behavior wasn’t even a problem:
#BillyBush suspended from CBS from something he did 11 years ago! And what he did was never even a crime give me a break!
— Rena (@ROHLL5) October 10, 2016
NBC has not given any indication as to how long Bush’s suspension might last, nor have they explained why they failed to act on either Bush or Trump while having the tape in their possession for over a decade.