However, this week, he kicked off some image rehabilitation with a New York Times op-ed and this appearance on The Late Show.
Colbert said that Trump denying being on the bus was "the dumbest thing he could have done", because "no one would have printed" Bush's op-ed and "I couldn't show this footage of the bus unless he denied it again, too".
"You do not get to say that, because I was there", Bush told Colbert. "Like I said, you can't say that". That is your voice. "I was there. you were there. that's your voice on the tape", the former host declared.
Bush said Lauer told him at the time that he had privately lobbied the network to keep Bush, who had just segued to the morning show from "Access Hollywood"- a show which NBC also distributes.
Bush insisted that "20 women don't get together and say, 'Hey you know what would be really fun?" An anonymous source told The New York Times last week that, in January, Trump mentioned he had doubts about the authenticity of the "Access Hollywood" tape, and reportedly told a Republican senator, "We don't think that was my voice". "I was there, you were there, that's your voice on the tape", Bush said, explaining that he had read the account of women accusing the president of sexual assault. "Let's take down a powerful guy together.' No they don't", he continued. Haha!' No, they don't...
"Enough's enough. Stop playing around with people's lives", Bush added. "And so it was like a gut punch", Bush said. In the piece, Bush also discussed his concerns about the implications of Trump's "revisionist history" regarding the recording, saying "I can only imagine how it has reopened the wounds of the women who came forward with their stories about him, and did not receive enough attention. The very day he was swearing in as the 45th president of the United States, I was checking in to this soul-searching retreat in St. Helena, Calif., nine days off the grid", Bush said. I am really sorry. "I will say, I would have liked the chance to have been able to address the audience that following Monday".
"It was 2005, and his ratings were through the roof and he was the big star of NBC".
"Because he was just regaling the seven guys on there and doing this, doing his bit", Bush said. Bush continued, "If I had thought there was a man detailing a sexual assault strategy, I would have called the Federal Bureau of Investigation, not just reported to my executive producer, so that was it for me".
"My [then] 15-year-old, Mary, called me from boarding school, and she was in tears: 'Dad, Dad, Dad, ' and I said, 'Everything is going to be fine, Mary".
And it appears that some of the higher ups at NBC regret Billy's firing - and Matt Lauer even defended him.
Man, oh man. Regardless, the main thing Billy's learned from this whole experience is that "women must be believed". "I'm anxious that the dialogue isn't gonna be around, because we have all these [things], we get onto the next thing".
"The bus ride was the tip of the iceberg", Bush said.