Google Hor

advertisement

Political News

Billy Bush on notorious Trump tape: It wasn't 'locker room talk'

161007-billy-bush-getty-1160

“I'm in a lot of locker rooms, I am an athlete, and no, that is not the type of conversation that goes on or that I've participated in,” former NBC host Billy Bush says. | Getty

The infamous “Access Hollywood” tape on which President Donald Trump can be heard describing in vulgar detail how his celebrity allowed him to sexually assault women with impunity was not “locker room talk,” as then-candidate Trump suggested, according to the other man on the tape, former NBC host Billy Bush.

Bush, who was fired from his job on NBC’s “Today” show shortly after the tape’s publication last October, described in an interview published over the weekend by The Hollywood Reporter how the 2005 tape derailed his career and led to months of reflection that included a week-long stay at a self-help retreat in California. He noted that the “irony is glaring” that the tape proved so damaging to his career while Trump, who actually made the inflammatory comments while Bush chuckled, went on to win the presidency in spite of it.

Story Continued Below

Trump offered a rare apology for his remarks on the tape and chalked them up to “locker room talk,” a characterization that Bush disputed.

“I'm in a lot of locker rooms, I am an athlete, and no, that is not the type of conversation that goes on or that I've participated in,” he said.

Instead, Bush told The Hollywood Reporter, Trump’s comments were typical of the Manhattan billionaire. Bush was unable to recall another instance of the now-president speaking quite so inappropriately about women, “but he's a provocateur. Shocking statements flow like wine from him.”

Get breaking news when it happens — in your inbox.

By signing up you agree to receive email newsletters or alerts from POLITICO. You can unsubscribe at any time.

“I felt that, in that moment, he was being typically Donald, which is performing and shocking. Almost like Andrew Dice Clay, the stand-up comedian: Does he really do the things that he's saying or is that his act?” Bush said. “And in Donald's case, I equated it that way. When he said what he said, I'd like to think if I had thought for a minute that there was a grown man detailing his sexual assault strategy to me, I'd have called the FBI.”

Bush, who said is he planning a professional comeback, said he felt compelled as the host of “Access Hollywood” to appease Trump, then the star of the massively popular reality TV show “The Apprentice.” He said he has only listened to the recording three times and was “shocked and alarmed and totally and completely gutted” after the first time he heard it.

The episode has given him a renewed and deepened interest in defending the interests of women, Bush said, and he detailed in the interview how he explained the situation to his three daughters. He said he has not spoken to Trump since before the start of the 2016 presidential

...

Trump: 'Rare opportunity' exists for peace in Middle East

Trump: 'Rare opportunity' exists for peace in Middle East

US President Donald Trump walks on his arrival accompanied by the Israeli President Rueben Rivlin, right, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Monday. (AP Photo) | AP

By Associated Press

05/22/2017 06:17 AM EDT

President Donald Trump opened his first visit to Israel Monday, an early visit by a president to a longtime Middle East ally and one aimed at testing the waters for jumpstarting the region's dormant peace process.

Trump flew in from Saudi Arabia, where he basked in a lavish welcome from the kingdom's royal family, and received a similarly warm welcome in Tel Aviv. In brief remarks during an airport ceremony, the president said he had come "to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the United States and the state of Israel" and that his visit with Arab leaders gave him "new hope" for peace in the region.

Story Continued Below

"We have before us a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace to this region and to its people," Trump said.

Trump received a warm welcome in Tel Aviv after becoming the first U.S. president to include Israel on his maiden overseas trip. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Trump "a true friend" to Israel and sounded hopeful notes about the president's role in the Middle East peace process.

But Trump may face questions from Israeli officials about revelations that he disclosed sensitive Israeli intelligence to Russian officials and concerns over the new $110 billion arms deal he announced with the Saudis. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking to reporters on Air Force One, said the U.S. could provide clarifications to Israel about what happened but said, "I don't know that there's anything to apologize for."

Before meetings Monday with Netanyahu, the president and first lady Melania Trump will visit the Western Wall, an important Jewish holy site, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is believed to be where Jesus was crucified and the location of his tomb.

On Tuesday, Trump will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. After hosting Abbas at the White House in March, Trump boldly stated that achieving peace is "something that I think is, frankly, maybe not as difficult as people have thought over the years."

"But we need two willing parties," he said. "We believe Israel is willing. We believe you're willing. And if you both are willing, we're going to make a deal."

White House aides have tried to play down expectations for significant progress on the peace process during Trump's stop, casting it as more symbolic than substantive. Tillerson referred to the visit as "a moment in time" and suggested that the U.S. would take a more active role in the future in brokering a deal if both sides make serious commitments.

Trump made one symbolic gesture Monday in bridging the gap between Israel and the Arab world. His flight on Air Force One was believed to be the first direct flight between Saudi Arabia and Israel, nations that do not

...

Israeli Officers to Trump: You’re Doing ISIS Wrong

ASSANIA MOUNTAIN, ON THE ISRAEL-SYRIAN BORDER—The Israeli military is not too impressed with President Donald Trump’s escalation against the Islamic State.

That, at least, is the distinct impression I got on a recent trip to Israel, including a visit to the Israeli-occupied side of the Golan Heights that offered a unique vantage point on the hopelessly entangled anarchy that is the Syrian civil war, now in its sixth year.

Story Continued Below

From atop a network of underground bunkers dating to the 1973 Yom Kippur War, my Israeli Army escort pointed northeast to Al Quneitra, the largely abandoned Syrian city in the distance where forces of President Bashar Assad and Hezbollah are trading mortar fire with rebel fighters who control two nearby villages.

A short drive south, past cherry and apple orchards, an abandoned United Nations outpost just over the fortified border now flies the flag of the Al Nusra Front, an affiliate of Al Qaeda. Further south, past a remote Israeli drone base, nestled atop a craggy slope across the valley below is a training base for the Islamic State, which is making new inroads far from its capital of Raqqa, more than 300 miles across the desert.

“If going north or west in not an option,” explained one Israel Defense Force official, pointing toward the small ISIS training camp situated through a thatch of trees where southern Syria juts between Israel and Jordan, “they are going to go somewhere else.”

“Some are already coming here. And Jordan is very concerned about the Islamic State.”

My trip came several weeks before Trump was due to arrive in Israel on a maiden foreign trip that is focused heavily on the Islamic State, which he has vowed “demolish and destroy.” But the assessment he receives from a close U.S. ally that has confronted Islamic militants for generations—and recently uncovered critical intelligence about an ISIS plot to use laptops to blow up airplanes—may not be what he wants to hear.

In the view of the Israeli military and intelligence units I visited over several days in late April, the U.S. strategy in Iraq and Syria may only be making the situation worse. We’re radicalizing the local population and spreading the hardest-core militants to sow havoc in neighboring Lebanon—which the officers I spoke with fear may already be on the verge on collapse—and Jordan. Still others are escaping the onslaught to Europe and possibly America.

“I am not sure it will be easy to defeat ISIS, as you are claiming to do,” Army Brig. Gen. Ram Yavne, the head of the IDF’s Strategic Division, told me in Tel Aviv, expressing a level of puzzlement shared by a number of other top commanders about the U.S. military obsession with a group that they do not consider a major strategic threat.

Several officials pointed out that even the largest estimates of the number of ISIS’s fiercest adherents are on par with Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls the Gaza Strip.

But Trump sees it

...

Israeli Officers: You’re Doing ISIS Wrong

ASSANIA MOUNTAIN, ON THE ISRAEL-SYRIAN BORDER—The Israeli military is not too impressed with President Donald Trump’s escalation against the Islamic State.

That, at least, is the distinct impression I got on a recent trip to Israel, including a visit to the Israeli-occupied side of the Golan Heights that offered a unique vantage point on the hopelessly entangled anarchy that is the Syrian civil war, now in its sixth year.

Story Continued Below

From atop a network of underground bunkers dating to the 1973 Yom Kippur War, my Israeli Army escort pointed northeast to Al Quneitra, the largely abandoned Syrian city in the distance where forces of President Bashar Assad and Hezbollah are trading mortar fire with rebel fighters who control two nearby villages.

A short drive south, past cherry and apple orchards, an abandoned United Nations outpost just over the fortified border now flies the flag of the Al Nusra Front, an affiliate of Al Qaeda. Farther south, past a remote Israeli drone base, nestled atop a craggy slope across the valley below is a training base for the Islamic State, which is making new inroads far from its capital of Raqqa, more than 300 miles across the desert.

“If going north or west is not an option,” explained one Israel Defense Force official, pointing toward the small ISIS training camp situated through a thatch of trees where southern Syria juts between Israel and Jordan, “they are going to go somewhere else.”

“Some are already coming here. And Jordan is very concerned about the Islamic State.”

My trip came several weeks before Trump was due to arrive in Israel on a maiden foreign trip that is focused heavily on the Islamic State, which he has vowed to “demolish and destroy.” But the assessment he receives from a close U.S. ally that has confronted Islamic militants for generations—and recently uncovered critical intelligence about an ISIS plot to use laptops to blow up airplanes—may not be what he wants to hear.

In the view of the Israeli military and intelligence units I visited over several days in late April, the U.S. strategy in Iraq and Syria may be making the situation only worse. We’re radicalizing the local population and spreading the hardest-core militants to sow havoc in neighboring Lebanon—which the officers I spoke with fear may already be on the verge on collapse—and Jordan. Still others are escaping the onslaught to Europe and possibly America.

“I am not sure it will be easy to defeat ISIS, as you are claiming to do,” Army Brig. Gen. Ram Yavne, the head of the IDF’s Strategic Division, told me in Tel Aviv, expressing a level of puzzlement shared by a number of other top commanders about the U.S. military obsession with a group that they do not consider a major strategic threat.

Several officials pointed out that even the largest estimates of the number of ISIS’s fiercest adherents are on par with Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls the Gaza Strip.

But Trump sees

...

John Podesta Unloads on Trump

Donald Trump is “unfit for office,” a president whose actions are often “absolutely crazy” and whose White House has “a complete disregard for the truth.” His firing of James Comey as the FBI director was overseeing an investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign and whether Trump’s advisers colluded with it amounts to “close to an obstruction case” against the president.

But, says John Podesta—the sharp-tongued campaign chairman for Hillary Clinton whose 60,000 hacked emails are at the heart of that FBI investigation into the team of the man who defeated them—don’t expect impeachment proceedings anytime soon.

Story Continued Below

Republican congressional leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have chosen to “Velcro their own political fate” to Trump’s and won’t pursue allegations against the president of their own party unless forced to do so by a 2018 midterm election debacle or further revelations. “It is clear to me that Republicans on Capitol Hill are not going to begin to turn on him at this point,” Podesta says.

His scathing comments about a presidency in crisis—and the Republicans who “enable” Trump—came in an exclusive new interview for The Global Politico about Clinton’s shocking election defeat and the still-unfolding investigations swirling around Russia’s role in it. The wide-ranging conversation covered everything from infighting on last year’s Clinton campaign (“if those 70,000 votes had gone differently in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, … we would have all been geniuses”) to Watergate comparisons (unlike Trump, “Nixon, for all his flaws… was a serious person”) to why Clinton lost and whether her new PAC means she’s running for president again (“quite frankly, she’s done with that”).

But most of the hour-long interview consisted of Podesta’s most extensive comments yet on the last two dramatic weeks in Washington that began with Trump’s firing of Comey and ended with Trump departing for his first foreign trip even as a special counsel, former FBI director Robert Mueller, was named to oversee the widening probe.

In the immediate hours after the firing, the White House claimed Comey was forced out because he had mishandled the investigation last year of Clinton’s private email server. But Trump himself soon undercut that explanation, telling a TV interviewer that in fact he had removed Comey with thoughts of the ongoing Russia collusion investigation in mind and even, according to the New York Times , repeating that directly to the Russian foreign minister in an Oval Office conversation where he also called Comey “a nut job.”

Susan B. Glasser’s new weekly podcast takes you backstage in a world disrupted.

By signing up you agree to receive email newsletters or alerts from POLITICO. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Podesta was still incredulous about all this when we talked this Saturday at his Northwest Washington home.

“It’s laughable, really laughable that Donald Trump would fire Jim Comey because of his interference which damaged Hillary Clinton. I mean, it was laughable from the very beginning,” Podesta says. “Just a complete misreading of reality.”

Like Clinton, Podesta

...
You are here: Black Americans Politics