Billy Bush, my third favorite Bush after Barbara Sr. and the lower end of Burt Reynolds’ treasure trail in that Cosmo centerfold, appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher last night. And it wasn’t just to talk about how much he misses taking in Kathie Lee Giffords’ Chardonnay vapors on Today. He was there to ‘splain why he didn’t shoot down Donald Trump when he talked of his favorite cat-like place on a woman to grab. Duh, it’s all about the cash.
Bill Maher pointed out that it’s a little weird Billy had a major fall from grace after that Access Hollywood tape was leaked, whereas the guy who actually said he grabbed women by the pussy took the White House. According to Billy, he felt like he really couldn’t call out Trump.
Billy: “I spent a lot of time with Trump back then…because I was the entertainment correspondent for NBC, and he was the cash cow. He was pulling 20 million viewers a week or something. So I’m with him two, three times a week.”
Bill: “You had to kiss his ass.”
Billy: “Sort of. You sort of meet them where they are. Or you can interrupt him, and then – you know how volatile he is, right? So he’d be like ‘I hate Billy Bush, he’s done.'”
He added that if he could do it over, he would just change the topic (à la Barbara Walters and Bette Midler with that Geraldo/poppers spectacle), because he didn’t want to be known as the one who lost The Donald. And lest you think Billy is profiting off this situation with Trump, he informed Bill that he would be donating all $850 he made from his Real Time appearance to a Los Angeles church.
However, some of Bill’s other guests didn’t seem as ready to accept Billy’s excuse as Bill did. Nayyera Haq, a former senior official at the White House and State Department under Barack Obama, side-eyed Billy for not having the “social courage” to stand up to Trump. SiriusXM Radio host Pete Dominick told Billy he “could have” and “should have” stood up to Trump, and hoped that people would call out creeps in the future.
As for where Billy’s at now, he says seeing Trump as the President while he went on to lose his job makes him feel “shitty.” It sounds like Billy hasn’t exactly had the best life post-Today (well, except for all the money he got). Although I’d say a spot on Real Time is better than nothing. It’s not like Billy is out there begging for a speaking gig at a casino in Biloxi. Honestly though, that doesn’t sound nearly as bad as waking up early to feign interest while asking the cast of the Jersey Shore reboot about their cardio routine.