Former "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush says that in hindsight he would have handled his 2005 interview with President TrumpDonald TrumpBaldwin calls Trump criticism following 'Rust' shooting 'surreal' Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Mary Trump files to dismiss Trump's lawsuit over NYT tax story MORE differently.

"I probably would have just changed the topic," Bush said when asked on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher."

Bush's lewd conversation with Trump, which included the former real estate mogul and reality TV star boasting about grabbing women without their consent, sparked broad criticism when a recording of the conversation surfaced weeks before the 2016 election.


Bush, who is a cousin of former President George W. Bush, was serving as a host on NBC's "Today" show when the tape emerged. He left NBC amid public backlash over the tape, an incident he said carried "a little irony" given Trump's later success in the polls that year. 

"You sort of meet them where they are, or you can interrupt them," he said of his former job as a celebrity news reporter.

"You know how volatile he is," Bush told Maher, suggesting that losing a "cash cow" like Trump by embarrassing him in the conversation could have wrecked his career as well. 

Trump later apologized for the conversation that was seized on by Democrats in the election, dismissing it as "locker room talk."

Bush has said he's making the best of his time away from the media, telling People Magazine in January that he's "had some growing up to do anyway in life."