TMZ: NBC Executives Held Onto 2005 Trump Tape to Have Maximal Impact on Election

Donald Trump
Donald Trump / AP

NBC executives planned to release the tape of Donald Trump’s sexually explicit remarks on an Access Hollywood hot mic to have maximum impact on the election and the second presidential debate, TMZ reported Wednesday.

NBC sources told TMZ that executives knew about the bombshell 2005 tape long before they say they did, but they elected to hold off leaking it because they did not want it to come too early in the race. The tape was reported first by the Washington Post on Oct. 7, two days before Hillary Clinton and Trump’s town hall debate, and it dominated the news cycle through the weekend.

According to TMZ, some at NBC feared that Hurricane Matthew coverage would crowd out reaction to the tape and wanted to hold it until the day after the debate, but others did not like waiting, so it was leaked to the Washington Post.

Billy Bush, who also makes crude remarks in the tape and appears to have been fired by NBC, reportedly boasted about the exchange back in August:

The sources say many NBC execs have open disdain for Trump and their plan was to roll out the tape 48 hours before the debate so it would dominate the news cycle leading up to the face-off.

As we reported, Billy Bush was bragging about the tape–in front of NBC execs at the Rio Olympics–in early August. NBC says it’s only known about the tape for a little more than a week.

We’re told the plan was to edit the tape to keep the focus on Trump and not Billy. "Access Hollywood" we’re told was not going to air the portion where Trump and Billy got off the bus and Billy goaded Trump and the soap star to hug. Our sources say the tape was going to be "sanitized" to protect Billy as much as possible.

Case in point … after the Washington Post ran the story, "Access" aired their footage and cut out the parts where Billy looked worse–saying things like, "Jeez! Your girl’s hot as s*** in the purple!"

The remarks, which included Trump mentioning that famous people like him can grab women "by the pussy," created a firestorm that drove some Republicans to renounce their endorsements, including Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.). Trump is now in a war of words with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis) after Ryan said he would no longer defend the Republican nominee.