Billy Bush isas the new host of the entertainment show "Extra." His return comes three years after he was suddenly fired, after a 2005 tape showing Bush and Donald Trump engaging in a lewd conversation about women was made public.
In a network exclusive interview with "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King, Bush said he believes that the tape's release was the tipping point for the #MeToo movement, which he calls a "good thing" – and that he's not angry at Donald Trump for what happened.
On Donald Trump's role in the tape: "He was being him"
"Are you angry at Donald Trump?" King asked.
"No," Bush said.
"Not at all?" King asked.
"Not for that," Bush responded. "No. I mean, he was being him … I think part of that personality and character was why he was successful in a boardroom, making people fight over lemonade stands."
Bush said that he, on the other hand, "was due for some kind of reckoning in my life."
"I don't think I'd ever really been through anything difficult," Bush said.
"Did you think you were a bit cocky, or overconfident?" King asked.
"Sure, elements of that, yeah … you know, I would -- if things went wrong, I used to get a little, like, really like, 'Oh, come on! Who did that? Why,' you know, 'Why'd that screw up? What? Who did?' And you realize, now, 'I'm not gonna do that.'"
"I think I needed to grow up a bit," he added. "Even though I was, you know, in my 40s … some of the missing tools to be better at my job, I think I picked up."
"But did you have to go through such a personal and professional fall to get to this point, do you think?" King asked.
"Apparently so," Bush responded.
On the fallout after the tape's release: Your mind "plays terrible tricks on you"
"I remember what it feels like to be all the way down," Bush told King. "And I won't ever forget that, and think that's a valuable asset."
"How bad did it get for you, Billy, to be 'all the way down'?" King asked.
"I'm slightly concerned about, you know, 'Woe is me, the victim,'" he said. "Everybody goes through something. It's going to happen to everybody in some way."
"Did you ever think about harming yourself during that time?" King asked.
"... Sure, your mind goes in, plays terrible games on you, when you're lying on a floor and you're crying and pulling your hair out ..." Bush said. "I was never a serious candidate for that. I have beautiful daughters. I have family. I would never do that, personally couldn't go there … [I was] close to the end of the rope, but not at the frays."
On advice from his cousin, George W. Bush
After the tapes were released, Bush said, he got a call from his cousin, former president George W. Bush.
"He called me, said, 'You're not layin' in bed, are ya?'" Bush recalled. "And I was, like, 'Uhh' – I got outta bed – 'no. Why would I be laying in bed?'"
Bush said he asked his cousin for advice, and that he told him: "I'm so mad, I should fight back."
But George W. Bush had other advice: "He said, 'Nope. Just, you know, take what they give ya and walk away. And work on you,'" Bush recalled.
On his return to TV: "I'm very grateful"
"Is this a second chance for Billy Bush?" King asked.
"I don't know," Bush said.
"Is it a comeback?" King asked. "Is it redemption? What is it in your mind?"
"I guess it's a little bit of all those things. For me, it's returning to my love. I'm very grateful to return to what I love to do."
"What are you most looking forward to with the new show?" King asked.
"Speaking the truth," Bush said. "I won't be the guy that, you know, piles on. I'm not gonna do that."
"I look forward to interviews," he added. "I look forward to sitting with people who have been through something. And I hope that they look forward to sitting with me, because they know, 'Well, there's one person that's not gonna be gettin' super-judge-y on me from their perch.'"
"You'll be a different kind of interviewer now, do you think?" King asked.
"Yeah. I'm interested in watching what people go through," Bush replied. "I'm interested in their emotional, psychological well-being. If they've, you know, erred? Own it, and then you know what? Let people forgive them."
To hear more of Gayle King's conversation with Billy Bush, listen to the "CBS This Morning" podcast: