Hey y’all, I want to talk about Billy Bush, so I’m going to.
Actually, let’s talk about the tape. I won’t embed it, but you can follow the link if you haven’t seen it in its ugly entirety. Please don’t claim you just can’t. You can. You should.
The emphasis, rightly so, has been on the behavior of the presidential candidate, who clearly used vulgar ideation and verbiage, who has been repeatedly accused of assault and rape, who pretty much embodies the scary stupidity of the addled right. The orange pustule is more important. Absolutely.
But could we pause for a moment to talk about the commonplace shittiness of Billy Bush?
We’ve all listened to the audio, but have you watched the video of Trump, Bush, and Arianne Zucker, the actress whose job it was to escort them onto the “Days of Our Lives” set? Did you see the part where Billy Bush gets off the damn dick-mobile and says to her, “How about a little hug for the Donald? He just got off the bus!”
Because getting off the bus is so hard, it requires hugs and kisses.
Zucker had offered the two men her hand, which is business-standard. It is Bush, notably, who turns their professional encounter into a sexualized performance. As the group walks the studio hallway, still on camera, it’s Billy Bush who insists she walk between them, who insists she choose one of them…for??? For sex, of course. As if. As if right there, right then, and at least Billy B. might get to watch.
I get it. I understand him. Billy Bush here assumed the venerable positon of rapey wingman. He made the heavier aggressor of the two seem passively preferable by forcing a kind of impotent frat-humor into an otherwise neutral, professional encounter.
Virtually every woman I know has experienced this virulent little weasel and suffered the consequences of his “I’m just kiddin’ around” assault-lite.
How did a grown woman get pushed into behaving as though she wanted to hang on Trump’s arm? How does someone who just admitted doing actual harm seem less pushy than the yapping pincher he’s with? This humiliating pushiness is a job.
The rapey wingman is a sexual predator’s best prop because he makes the aggressor look less obnoxious in public.
Think about Arianne Zucker. She hugged them (because wingman goaded her to do it in a way that would have reflected badly on her had she refused), she took Trump’s arm (because wingman was physically crowding her), she wound up appearing to flirt with Trump (because wingman made it clear he wasn’t going to stop the sexualized onslaught while he had a turn to speak).
Who are they, these buttresses of rape culture?
Picture the guy calling himself “little buddy”; the Eddie-‘at-a-boy who jumps into the passenger seat while you’re trying to get out; the jerk who starts Daffy Ducking you toward the asshole you’re really trying to avoid by calling you slutty names like it’s funny. How far will you have to retreat into real danger to make him stop?
In a few moments of video, we see that pricky chump, Billy Bush, turn a professional encounter into hugs, kisses, touches, innuendos, sexualized speech, and coerced role play. Should Trump go down for this? Sure, but in the sense that this can be added like an anchor to a long list of heavy reasons his cancerous candidacy is sinking. Billy Bush deserves the same cold deep.