February 15th, 2013
08:52 AM ET
9 months ago

#stopjumpingtoconclusions: Congressman was tweeting his kid

(CNN) - A congressional Democrat said the decision this week to publicly acknowledge that he had a daughter, a woman he didn’t know about until three years ago, was difficult for both of them.

In an interview with CNN’s “The Situation Room” on Friday Rep. Steve Cohen described how an Internet search for a former romantic interest led him to discover the woman has a daughter, who bears a striking resemblance to him.

“My staff people looked at her pictures and they said, ‘I think she’s your daughter,’” Cohen told CNN Anchor Kate Bolduan.

The issue was forced into the open by a series of tweets during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.

The daughter, Victoria Brink, 24, had tweeted that she saw him on television during the speech, and he responded saying: "ilu," short for "I love you."

Cohen later deleted that tweet after realizing that it was public, rather than sent privately.

He tweeted, then deleted, again, saying: "Nice to know you were watchin SOTU(state of the union). Happy Valentines beautiful girl. Ilu."

The curious tweets, archived online at the Sunlight Foundation's "Politwoops" website (which stores deleted tweets from politicians), set off questions among some in the media and his constituents.

Following questions raised about a possible romantic relationship with Brink, a Texas State Student who has also posed as a swimsuit model, the 63-year-old bachelor went public on Thursday with the news that she was his daughter.

Cohen said the secrecy was to prevent her father from feeling hurt.

“I couldn’t say anything without her permission and that would involve her father and we couldn’t do that until we felt like it was necessary,” he told CNN.

The man who raised her was unaware of Cohen, although the congressman has brought Brink to Washington and the two have spent time in Memphis together, including a trip to Graceland.

The situation this week, Cohen said, was highlighted by Republicans.

“The National Republican Congressional campaign committee, the Tennessee Republican Party, were comparing me to Anthony Weiner, which was absurd to start with,” he said.

Weiner, the former New York congressman whose online communications with several women were revealed after he posted a public tweet.

“They were making it out like it was something that was perverted and it was disgusting to her, I’m sure, and hurtful to her and I didn’t like it either,” he said.

Brink's mother is Texas criminal defense attorney Cynthia White Sinatra, who was once married to Frank Sinatra, Jr., the son of the legendary singer. Brink's mother also ran unsuccessfully against then-Rep. Ron Paul in a 2006 Republican primary.

Cohen has said that he regrets not being there for Brink’s childhood, but thinks fondly of how their relationship has grown over the three years since they first met - a “wonderful moment that I’ll never forget,” he said.


Filed under: Congress • Steve Cohen
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. Larry L

    @cantilever

    "this is scandalous, but mainly for the fact that the man who has raised her as his daughter has never been told.... What a sleaze this Cohen is."
    ===========================
    Sadly, you're probably allowed to vote.

    February 15, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. Ancient Texan

    Pete- Sure Bush was given the respect he deserved.....LOL He was lamblasted 24/7 for 8 years and never made any effort to reply to the criticism. He knew it would fan the fires from the hate-filled radicals.

    February 15, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  3. A True Conservative

    Interesting...you fail to mention his political party affiliation. Could that be because there is a "D" after his name on the ballot and not an "R"? It's funny how you never seem to forget to mention that when there is an "R" after their name.

    February 15, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. coyote

    His entire mind set is selfish from the word go. – this is what we let control us? – someone who couldn't even control themselves? -

    February 15, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. Whatever

    BravesGal,

    Try actually reading the story. He is clearly identified as a Democrat in the first attributed quote from the man. Try not letting your prejudices and perceived past slights impair your reading comprehension. Just a friendly suggestion.

    February 15, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Media, if you're looking for a scandal, tune in to ABC on Thursday nights at 10pm EST. Geesh!

    February 15, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. Florida Joe

    BravesGal
    *******************************************
    "I was extremely proud and happy that she was watching the State of the Union, and so I immediately tweeted her back and told her I was pleased she was watching and that I loved her," the Democratic congressman told CNN affiliate WREG in Memphis in a phone interview

    *******************************************
    Please try reading the story before commenting......try to keep up

    February 15, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    A True Conservative

    Interesting...you fail to mention his political party affiliation.
    --------------------
    Learn how to read.....from the article:

    I was extremely proud and happy that she was watching the State of the Union, and so I immediately tweeted her back and told her I was pleased she was watching and that I loved her," the Democratic congressman told CNN affiliate WREG in Memphis in a phone interview.

    Is it really true that conservatives must be *told* everything?

    February 15, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  9. Florida Joe

    A True Conservative

    ***************************************
    Try reading the story for a change before you spout off

    February 15, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. PJ

    @BravesGal who wrote – "....you gotta love the fact that CNN never mentions this guy is Democrat."
    ----–
    Follow closely:
    Third paragraph,
    Third line,
    ".... the Democratic congressman told CNN affiliate....."
    Happy now? Is your day complete?

    February 15, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  11. GetReal

    @BravesGal – you need to read more carefully. See paragraph #3.

    February 15, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  12. Jay

    Hilarious that people can't read, it does say he's a democrat:

    "I was extremely proud and happy that she was watching the State of the Union, and so I immediately tweeted her back and told her I was pleased she was watching and that I loved her," the Democratic congressman told CNN affiliate WREG in Memphis in a phone interview."

    February 15, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  13. Wake up People!

    @Dutch/Bad News. Good one. Btw, I love Scandal!!

    February 15, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. David M

    I have better things to be concerned with than what some politician is doing on the side. Who knows if he is telling the full truth or not. Probably not, since he is a politician. Party affiliation is irrelevant. If I had to bet, I would bet he knew about his daughter longer than just 3 years ago. Truth and politicians are mutually exclusive.

    February 15, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  15. TDALLAS

    It is evident that the Congressman didn't even know he had a daughter until 3 years ago. She is now 24 years old. Frankly the private life of the Congressman 24 years ago is no ones business as it is past history. However, once he became aware that he had a daughter it is apparent that made every effort to get to know his daughter and develop a relationship with her. This is a private family matter and should be left as such.

    But the media and people of this nation are addicted to "scandal" and will do everything they can to create one and then to exploit it.

    Congratulations on your daughter!

    February 15, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  16. Johnny Hartman

    So, let me get this straight: For those of you who are bashing the guy for having a daughter that he didn't know about, he's a sleeze and this is a scandal? What about Strom Thurmond, who had a daughter, that HE KNEW about, and still voted to deny his own daughter privileges because of her color? Did you guys chime in on that scandal?

    February 15, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  17. USVET

    It's still amazing that they couldn't put the "D" after his name in the first sentence instead of burying it 3 pargraphs down. CNN does that all the time for Republicans, why not Democrats? BTW – I'm a independent voter.

    February 15, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  18. Debits-n-Credits

    There are two things our politicians excel at doing: taking money from “contributors” and philandering.

    And of course, they’re skilled at making speeches and placing blame on the other party.

    February 15, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  19. Kenneth

    Congratulations to MY Congressman Steve Cohen! You represent the people of Memphis respectfully! The fact that you have made efforts to include your new-found daughter in your life and the political process is admirable!

    February 15, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  20. Chaerlotte

    Who cares what party he is. More important that this is a father who is proud of his daughter. Apparently it is not his fault he did not know about her, or tell the man who raised her. Give it a break, aren't there more important things to be whining about?

    February 15, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. Fin

    We all make mistakes but having a child is not a mistake. Good for him for re-uniting and making an effort to have a relationship with his daughter. I am not a big fan of his voting record but as a parent and caring person all power to him.

    February 15, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  22. JEM

    I'm more disgusted that a 63 year old uses Twitter.

    February 15, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  23. Manny1955

    You guys know that reading is fundamental....right? READ!

    February 15, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. Wake up People!

    @Johnny Hartman, you must be new to these blogs. Don't you know the GOP could care less about facts??? All they do is create crises and then blame President Obama. I'm surprised no one has tried to link HIM to this story.

    As for the infamous segregationist Strom Thurman and his secret biracial daughter he had by a teenaged maid.....ssssshhhhhh!! LOL.

    February 15, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  25. PolishKnight

    What a surprise: no mention by CNN of his party affiliation. After googling, found he was a Democrat. Of course, no need to report that when it's a scandal that will hurt the party.

    Pravda has more journalistic integrity.

    February 15, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
1 2 3 4