Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen raised some eyebrows this week when he sent, and then deleted, a few affectionate tweets to a 24-year-old model during the State of the Union. Cohen’s communications director insisted that Victoria Brink is just “the daughter of a longtime friend,” adding that they’re “pretty much like family.” And by that, he meant that they are family. This afternoon, Luke Russert broke the news that Brink is the congressman’s long-lost daughter, and now Cohen has fleshed out the story in an interview with NBC News. “When she let me know she was watching the State of the Union address I was thrilled that she wanted Steve Cohen to be part of her,” he says. “I had such joy, that I couldn’t hold back from tweeting her.”
Cohen wouldn’t explain how he didn’t know about his daughter until three years ago, but he said looking up an old girlfriend online led to the discovery. “I Googled her mother, found out she had a child and the math looked pretty accurate,” he said. “The mom told me we had a lot of catching up to do.” Cohen said Brink’s mother told him, “‘Yes every time I look at her I see the German Jew in her face,’ I’m Lithuanian close enough.”
Cohen and Brinks have apparently become close in the past few years. The congressman told NBC that he’s “proud to be her dad” and “loved her,” and Luke Russert tweeted, “Cohen was emotional while telling the story about his daughter, fought back tears, could feel genuine fatherly emotion.” Cohen says he’s taken her on a tour of the Capitol and the White House, and she was his date for last year’s White House Christmas party. “I want her to see my world and be a part of it,” he said. This is certainly a nice change of pace; the next time it’s revealed that a congressman is sending seemingly creepy messages to a young lady on Twitter, the outcome probably won’t be this heartwarming.