Bad Luck Billy
By Patrick F. Cannon
If your name is William Hall Bush, you should be destined for great things. After all, your great grandfather was a distinguished senator; your great uncle a president of the United States; one of your cousins also a president, and another the governor of Florida. But you were the rebellious type, called yourself Billy and became a disk jockey and eventually a celebrity journalist (with apologies to real ones).
Because he was handsome in a cutesy sort of way, Billy’s career prospered. He eventually caught on at that “Red Carpet” titan Access Hollywood in 2001, rising to co-anchor in 2004. For part of those years, Billy also had a radio gig as the Billy Bush Show. Then, in 2016, he hit the jackpot. The legendary NBC Today morning show came calling and made him the third-hour anchor (the third hour is when they give up all pretense of being a serious news show). Everything seemed rosy, but there was trouble lurking in the wings.
It seems that in September 2005, charming Billy was interviewing Donald L. Trump on NBC’s Hollywood lot regarding his coming appearance on a network soap opera. Unbeknownst to him and the glittering star of Celebrity Apprentice, the mic was, as they say, “hot” (or on, if you don’t know the jargon). In a wide ranging conversation, Trump explored his philosophy of sexual relationships. He mentioned to Bush that he had tried to seduce Bush’s Access Hollywood co-anchor, Nancy O’Dell. Amazingly, she resisted his legendary charms. Trump suggested it may have been because she was married, but I guess we’ll never know.
I won’t bore you by quoting the entire conversation. If you missed it and want to wallow, you can look up the transcript as published by the august New York Times, the paper of record for those who wish to know it all. Here is just a sample:
Trump: …and when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
Bush: Whatever you want…
Trump: Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything…
Now, Bush was not as forthcoming as his interviewee regarding his own achievements, but it must be said that he never questioned the propriety of Trump’s boasting, and himself made some comments regarding female anatomy that some might have found vulgar. The story of the tape broke in the Washington Post on October 7, 2016. When it finally became clear to Today that Billy might have become a liability, he was fired on October 17.
In November of the next year, his fellow morning show anchors Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose also lost their jobs, not for pandering to Donald Trump, but for more direct sexual harassment. Must have something to do with the curse of threes.
Just recently, as a response to President Trump saying it wasn’t his voice on the infamous tape, Billy Bush wrote an op-ed in the Times confirming again that it was indeed the leader of the Free World spouting his accomplishments. But who are we to believe? A discredited celebrity journalist or the man who – in case you haven’t noticed – occupies the same Oval Office as Franklin Delano Roosevelt?
Anyway, it’s clear that Billy Bush’s media career is probably over. He joins a long list of people associated with Trump who have been tainted by the association. Although his stupidity isn’t a criminal offense, others – General Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Michael Cohen, among others – may yet find themselves in jail.
In the meantime, Donald J. Trump is still president of these United States.
Copyright 2018, Patrick F. Cannon