Former Vice President Joe Biden is really talking allegations that he inappropriately touched several people very seriously.
While speaking at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Conference on Friday morning, Biden cracked two jokes about having “permission” to touch people following reports that seven women have accused him of inappropriate touching.
But the creepiest moment came when he invited a group of kids onto the stage with him and he brought one young boy over close to him.
After putting his arm around the young boy, Biden said, “by the way, he gave me permission to touch him.”
Biden calls kids up on stage, puts his arm around a boy and says "by the way, he gave me permission to touch him" pic.twitter.com/XkfrgtwYC8
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) April 5, 2019
The union crowd responded with wild laughter and applause.
Biden invites kids to join him on stage to watch his speech. Hugs one kid and says, "by the way he gave me permission to touch him." "Everyone knows I like kids better than people," said Biden, clearly wary of tactile politics. pic.twitter.com/YRJU9ahVa1
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) April 5, 2019
“Everyone knows I like kids better than people,” Biden said, according to CBS’s Mark Knoller.
Earlier in the event, Biden made another joke about the allegations of inappropriate touching.
“I just want you to know, I had permission to hug Lonnie,” Biden said, referring to IBEW President Lonnie Stephenson.
Biden also gave her a pat on the shoulder before taking the stage, again touching women after he vowed earlier this week to stop invading people’s “personal space” with his unwanted touching.
“I don’t know man,” Biden mocked, joining the crowd in laughter.
— CSPAN (@cspan) April 5, 2019
In the past week, Biden has been accused by seven women of inappropriate touching.
When speaking to reporters after the union event, Biden was asked if he would give the women a “direct apology”.
“If I made anyone feel uncomfortable, I feel badly about that. It was never my intention, ever, ever, ever,” Biden said.
“I’m sorry I didn’t understand more. I’m not sorry for any of my intentions. I’m not sorry for anything that I have ever done,” he said, seemingly annoyed.
“I have never been disrespectful intentionally to a man or a woman. So that’s not the reputation I’ve had since I was in high school, for God’s sakes.”