February 15th, 2013
08:52 AM ET
9 years 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.

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“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. fernace

    Good for Cohen & his daughter! Shame on reporters for jumping to conclusions!!

    February 15, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  2. Pete

    If this guy knew his cell and how to use it he could have shut it off during the SOTUS..This is the blantant disregard,respect from reps in both houses toward our president..It was evident as well how our justices of the supreme court treated this occasion looking like ill mannered children uncomfortable sitting in from of their hated principle knowing it was the last place they really wanted to be but forced to sit through it anyway like it or not!!This disrespect for our commander and chief has got to stop it wasn't with Bush even though we all knew how ignorent he was but we gave him respect that was due him anyway right..He won last election fair and square so get over it republicans and get on with your work you were sent there for or go home,you're done at midterms so make the best of what little time you have left,you've earned it haven't yah !!!

    February 15, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  3. MountainoutofMolehill

    This is a shame. What should have been a private moment between an estranged father and his daughter has now become a faux-scandal. We really need to focus more on a politicians policies rather than where they lay their heads at night. Especially when there is no story to be had.

    Shame on you media.

    February 15, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  4. chill

    There was a time when reporting started with getting the facts. And it's the on-line media especially that pushes these sorts of irrelevant and in this case totally misleading stories. Unlike the so called mainstream media, these newbies seem to have no rules or ethics whatsoever.

    February 15, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  5. cantilever

    er, 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.

    February 15, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    Good to know this has all been cleared up. No doubt the last thing our media would want is to ruin what little relationship this father and his daughter have begun to enjoy together.

    February 15, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  7. LL

    Well, this is how those holy rollers in Tennessee play...Sick as it is.

    February 15, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  8. Malory Archer


    er, 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.


    Your comment makes no sense. Cohen was kept in the dark about his daughter. If the mother passed her off as someone else's child that makes the mother the sleaze in this matter. You're only bashing the guy BECAUSE he's a dem. Had he been a rethug, you would be admonishing the "librul" media for bringing it to light.

    February 15, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  9. vt

    @ cantilever: How is Cohen a sleaze in this situation? The daughter's MOTHER is the one who lied to two men as well as her daughter. She let a man raise this child, knowing that he was not the father. She left Steve Cohen in the dark until 3 years ago. Had Cohen not sought out the mother he still would not know that he had a child. So, pelase explain to me how does Steve Cohen come off as a sleaze?

    February 15, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. Wake up People!

    @cantilever. THIS is scandalous??? Really??? And how exactly is it the Congressman's fault that his EX lied to her husband and him for years? From reading the article it sounds like he had no idea he had a child. The faux outage for anything democrat is getting ridiculous. And remember no one, not even people sitting behind keyboards ranting and raving but wouldn't bust a grape at a Bellagio grape festival, are perfect, not even you.

    It would really be nice if the media focused on real news and not gossip.

    I also would like to say, it was totally and completely disrespectful the way many carried on during the SUTU address. I even saw military guys frowning. Sad, this POTUS that wants to end wars and bring our military home, and many don't even like him.

    February 15, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. Blue

    Congratulations Steve,
    How wonderful it is to find that you have a family after all of these years. Your daughter is a lucky young lady to have two fathers that care for her.

    February 15, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  12. bubblehead616

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

    February 15, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  13. bubblehead616

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

    February 15, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  14. SoSad

    Hope you have good quality time with your daughter, peace out. Media "chill"

    February 15, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  15. John


    Meanwhile, CNN refuses to cover the fact that the Dem controlled Senate has never passed a budget in the 4+ years President Perfect has been in office. CNN should just change its name to TMZ Light.

    February 15, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    The real scandal is Cohen playing the faux victim card like a master craftsman.
    He posted a public tweet and people in the news asked questions about it.

    February 15, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  17. rosaadriana

    I am glad they were reunited after all these years. The mother probably thought she was protecting her. Not clear why she didn't tell the congressman earlier though.

    February 15, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  18. 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 it been a Republican, it would have been at the top of the story in bold letters. Hypocrisy at it's finest.

    February 15, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  19. lolo

    Get over it people. This is a personal matter period!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 15, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  20. 703NOVA

    This story isn't a scandal. Cohen had a love affair with a woman when they were both unmarried. She got pregnant by him but did not tell him. He found out years later and is thrilled to have a daughter. This is a happy event. I wish them all the best.

    February 15, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  21. Joi Gibson

    It is a shame the media is more interested in controversy rather than first getting facts and reporting on those facts.

    February 15, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  22. LouAz

    Nothing of real importance here. Move along please.

    February 15, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  23. Rudy NYC

    John wrote:

    Meanwhile, CNN refuses to cover the fact that the Dem controlled Senate has never passed a budget in the 4+ years President Perfect has been in office. CNN should just change its name to TMZ Light.
    So what. The Senate has never passed a budget. Maybe it's because Republicans have filibustered every last one of them just so that they could make this false talking point. And Democrats have filibustered the "tactical" budget bills coming out of the Tea Party House that repealed everything from the ACA to the 14th Amendment. "What difference does it make?"

    BTW, are not Continuing Resolutions budget bills? The government has been running on CRs ever since TARP. That's how the Bush administration left the federal budget when he turned over the keys to Barack Obama.

    February 15, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  24. lottie

    apparently some miss read the article . Cohen waited until his daughter asked permission of her step father to release the information. The step father was not unaware. This was a courtesy. What is wrong with you people.? Why such a big deal. ?????

    February 15, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  25. Gezellig

    @John, and the lack of a budget effects you how?

    February 15, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
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