Former vice-presidents comments came during first public appearance since allegations from at least seven women surfaced
Joe Biden has twice made joking references to complaints from women that his physical behavior made them uncomfortable.
The former vice-presidents comments on Friday came during his first public appearance since the allegations began to surface last week.
Taking the stage in Washington at a gathering of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Biden was introduced by the president of the union, Lonnie Stephenson.
Biden quipped: I just want you to know I had permission to hug Lonnie.
The crowd, which was mostly male, erupted in laughter. Later, Biden made a similar joke after inviting a group of children onstage and putting his arm round a young boy.
By the way, he gave me permission to touch him, the former vice-president said, again to laughter.
Everybody knows I like kids more than people, Biden said.
Biden, who is widely expected to enter the 2020 presidential race, has faced allegations from at least seven women that they were troubled by physical interactions with him.
Although he has not been accused of sexual assault or harassment, the women have said they felt Biden violated their personal space.
On Wednesday, Biden pledged in a video to change his behavior.
Social norms are changing. I understand that, and Ive heard what these women are saying, Biden said. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful of personal space in the future. Thats my responsibility and I will meet it.
Speaking to reporters after Fridays event, Biden was asked if he would apologize to the women directly.
Im sorry I didnt understand, he said. Im not sorry for any of my intentions.
He added: I literally think it is incumbent upon me and I think everybody else to make sure that if you embrace someone, if you touch someone, its with their consent, regardless of your intention.
The controversy began when Lucy Flores, a former Nevada state assemblywoman, alleged Biden put his hands on her shoulders, leaned in to smell her hair and kissed the back of her head at a political event in November 2014.
Other women have shared similar accounts. Several prominent Democratic women have come to Bidens defense, suggesting such behavior is part of his affectionate demeanor.
Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 17 women, has sought to weaponize the issue.
The president posted a derisive tweet featuring Bidens apology video doctored to include an image of the former vice-president creeping up behind himself and grabbing his own shoulders.
WELCOME BACK JOE! Trump tweeted.
Biden hit back, tweeting: I see that you are on the job and presidential.
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