In light of the leaked audio capturing a lewd 2005 exchange between GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and Today host Billy Bush, NBC has reportedly made a decision regarding Bush's fate. Brian Stelter, host of CNN's Reliable Sources, reported Monday that Bush's Today show exit is a matter of when, not if.
According to Stelter, Bush is "effectively already gone." Bush was formally suspended Sunday evening, with the remaining Today show team briefly mentioning his absence during Monday's broadcast. A report from Page Six Monday evening alleged that Bush was not only aware the tape existed but also bragged about it to NBC employees at a Rio Olympics party over the summer.
The tape in question, obtained and published by the Washington Post last week, features Trump on a bus bragging about how fame has given him the right to grab women "by the pussy" while Bush giggles. Trump is also heard making derogatory remarks about Bush's former Access Hollywood co-worker Nancy O'Dell, whom he apparently tried to "move" on. As Trump exits the bus, Bush is seen essentially acting as what John Oliver called a "hug pimp."
Trump himself has seemingly downplayed the leaked tape, initially deflecting during Sunday's presidential debate against Hillary Clinton by bringing up ISIS before once again using the "locker room talk" defense. "I apologized to the American people," Trump told Anderson Cooper. "Certainly I'm not proud of it, but this is locker room talk."
NBC did not immediately respond to Complex's request for comment.