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. RighteousRushRepublican

    A Tennessee Democrat is like god fearing Republican. Another piece of deadbeat dad rubbish. Democrats or Republicans, the number of deadbeat jerks are repugnant. Look after all segregationist Strom Thurmond and his behavior.

    February 15, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  2. Malory Archer

    bubblehead616

    Like taking a drink of water is major news for 2 days?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    It wasn't about the water sweetie, but keep telling yourself that it was.

    February 15, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  3. Bizzy

    Republicans are in no position to lecture anyone on family values and they never, ever will be.

    February 15, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. Malory Archer

    BravesGal

    While I think this sort of stuff is nobody's business, you gotta love the fact that CNN never mentions this guy is a Democrat.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Had you read past the headline you would see that CNN did INDEED mention his party affiliation. LOL at the outrage fail!!!

    February 15, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. Larry L

    @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.
    ===========================
    He was "lambasted" because his dishonesty, corruption and stupidity caused the death of over 4500 Service-members and hundreds of thousands of civilians. His criminal mismanagement left us with a trashed economy a a nation deeply divided by hate and bigotry. None of you brainwashed, Fox News right-wingers can seem to remember the facts.

    February 15, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. Casey

    Just another politician that's all about.....'Do as I say, not as I do'.

    February 15, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. joe

    Let me see if I get this right...a man (who cares what party he's from) finds out he has a daughter and want s to get to know her and some of you find fault with that? What about the 5 million men who know they have a daughter or son (most of more than one) and don't step up to the plate and be a father to the child. Wheres the outrage with that...

    February 15, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    PolishKnight wrote:

    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.
    ----------
    See? There they go again. Repeating what they've been told to say.
    Try reading more of the article next time. Yes, he's a Democrat.

    February 15, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    None of my business.
    He's happy, she's happy, I'm happy.

    February 15, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Ancient Texan wrote:

    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.
    ---------------–
    Yeah, but you gotta admit that Bush showed us a mean left duck when he dodged those thrown shoes.

    February 15, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "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."

    Aside from the clear mention of him being a Dem in the 3rd paragraph, what's the scandal here? He's not married, so adultery is out the window. He was not married when he made her, so again, adultery is out the window. He was not told about her and had no idea that she even existed until 3 years ago, 21 years after her birth, so the kind of dead-beat dad arguments that Republican Joe Walsh deserves to be hammered with daily are not available to you. Are you going to try to make a "scandal" out of the fact that he made whoopy out of wedlock a quarter of a century ago? If so, please proceed...the backfiring of your grand plan will be amusing.

    What this really is? A tragedy that's finally getting made right. Make up for lost time, Cohen, and ignore all these idiots.

    February 15, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "Another piece of deadbeat dad rubbish."

    How can one be a deadbeat dad when the mother never told him about the child for 21 years and he only discovered it because HE looked HER up to get back in touch? Go talk to Teatroll Joe Walsh if you want to yammer about real deadbeat dads.

    February 15, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. Gail

    "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?
    *********************************************************************************************************************************

    Oh, I would bet a million dollars the party would make a very big difference to you had this guy been a Republican. If you libs get your panties in a wad over a guy taking a drink of water (Sen. Marco Rubio) on television it's a sure bet you would get your panties in a wad if Steve Cohen were a Republican.

    February 15, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    RighteousRushRepublican wrote:

    A Tennessee Democrat is like god fearing Republican. Another piece of deadbeat dad rubbish. Democrats or Republicans, the number of deadbeat jerks are repugnant. Look after all segregationist Strom Thurmond and his behavior.
    -------------–
    All his ex'es live in Texas. That's why he hangs his hat in Tenessee.

    February 15, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  15. Larbo

    Really, CNN? "Illegitimate" child? Why stigmatize the girl? Apparently, neither of her parents were married to others when she was conceived, so why use language suggesting a scandal?

    February 15, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  16. It's simple, really

    Thankfully, the country has stopped listening to the GOP on matters of family values and morality.

    February 15, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. DaveM

    How is this story political? A man finds out he had a daughter 20-some odd years ago, is excited and proud to call her his daughter, and she is happy to call him dad. Duh! That's it. Heart-warming story...

    February 15, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  18. Michael

    The only tragedy here is that the congressman lost out on 21 years of fatherhood, thats a huge price to pay: Seeing her first steps, her first day at school, teaching her how to drive, seeing her graduate High School... Everything else is is noise.

    Sure it's an interesting family dynamic, but in these times of divorce and split/mixed families, it's probably closer to the norm (saddly). Leave them alone and chase controversy elsewhere.

    February 15, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. Malory Archer

    Gail

    Oh, I would bet a million dollars the party would make a very big difference to you had this guy been a Republican. If you libs get your panties in a wad over a guy taking a drink of water (Sen. Marco Rubio) on television it's a sure bet you would get your panties in a wad if Steve Cohen were a Republican.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    And that's a bet you would lose, not to mention the guy's party affilation was mentioned.

    As for bubio's water lunge, it really wasn't about that, but you just go on believing it was!

    February 15, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  20. JJ

    I love the repuke dimwits here calling this man a deadbeat father when the mother kept the info from him until 3 years ago. The GOP -is- the party of morons!

    February 15, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. Knucklehead

    Leave the guy alone. Republican or Democrat, get the he!! out of his personal life.

    February 15, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    "After googling, found he was a Democrat. Of course, no need to report that when it's a scandal that will hurt the party."

    Might I suggest next time you read the article BEFORE you spend what I can only assume is wasted time on The Goggle looking for the seedy details of a private relationship between a man and his daughter? (Just trying to be helpful, mind you.)

    He's happy. She's happy. Dominincan mama is happy.

    End of story.

    February 15, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  23. Lynda/Minnesota

    Oops. Sorry, Dominican mama. I misspelled your name. My apologies.

    February 15, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  24. The Real Tom Paine

    Hey, if its not Bristol Palin, its open season by the Repubs. I guess she's the only unwed mother they have ever cared about.

    February 15, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "Why stigmatize the girl"

    Fact: There's not a single person in America that isn't a victim of the MSM.

    February 15, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
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