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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump, who has faced numerous allegations of inappropriate conduct with women, tweaked former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential 2020 rival, Tuesday night over allegations that the longtime Delaware senator made women uncomfortable with his touching.
“Our former vice president. I don't know him well,” Trump said at a fundraising dinner for the National Republican Congressional Committee in Washington. “Was gonna say, welcome to the world, Joe. You having a good time, Joe? Are you having a good time?"
Trump also said he considers most of the Democrats running for president to be socialists, but not Biden, and appeared intent on exploiting suggestions this week that supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Democratic nomination, might be behind the recent allegations against Biden.
“The socialists are really taking care of him,” Trump said.
Biden and his camp have adamantly denied that he did anything inappropriate following allegations by Nevada politician Lucy Flores, who wrote last week that he had put his hands on her shoulders, smelled her hair and kissed the back of her head during a campaign event five years ago and Amy Lappos, a former aide to Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., who said Monday that Biden had touched her face and rubbed noses with her a decade ago.
“In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort," Biden said in a statement released Sunday. "And not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention. I may not recall these moments the same way, and I may be surprised at what I hear."
As Trump was wrapping up his remarks, The New York Times reported on two new allegations against Biden. While all four women have said they felt uncomfortable, none have alleged that Biden crossed a legal line.
NBC has spoken to one of the women interviewed by the Times, but has not independently confirmed the new allegations. The Biden camp responded to a request for comment by referring to the statement issued several days ago, following the first such story.
In October 2016, an outtake video surfaced of Trump — who has been accused by multiple women of various forms of sexual misconduct — bragging about aggressive behavior with women.
“I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” Trump said in the video from between takes during filming of an “Access Hollywood” episode.
The video jolted his campaign just weeks before the November election that year, but it did not end up costing him the presidency.
Biden, who served as vice president for eight years under President Barack Obama and as a senator from Delaware for 36 years before that, is considering a run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir said Tuesday that his team had not pressured women to come forward.
“Neither the Bernie Sanders campaign, nor anyone involved in it, planted, planned, persuaded, cajoled or otherwise urged Lucy Flores or anyone else to tell their story,” Shakir told The Daily Beast. “Full stop, period, end of sentence. I don’t want to hear it. We didn’t play a role.”