Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., was spotted trading tweets with a young woman during the State of the Union address and his “ilu” signoffs — digital shorthand for I love you — prompted inquiries into the identity of the congressman’s tweet mate.
Cohen, who initially told WMC-TV in Memphis, Tenn., that the woman was the daughter of a friend, has now confessed that the woman — Victoria Brink — is his daughter whom he learned about three years ago.
Cohen, who has never been married, conducted a private briefing in his office with reporters from NBC and CBS Thursday evening to set the record straight.
“I googled her mother, found out she had a child and the math looked pretty accurate,” Cohen told reporters in his office, according to NBC’s account of the briefing. “The mom told me we had a lot of catching up to do.”
Cohen, 63, said he has taken his daughter, who is 24 and an aspiring swimsuit model, on a tour of the Capitol and to a White House Christmas party.
After trading tweets with Brink Tuesday night, Cohen quickly deleted the posts. But it seems nothing can be permanently deleted from the internet, as the tweets were archived by Politwoops. Brink has also deleted the tweets she traded with Cohen.
When Brink notified Cohen that she was watching the president’s address, the congressman replied, “pleased you are watching. ilu.” Cohen followed up with “nice to know you were watchin SOTU(state of the union).Happy Valentines beautiful girl. ilu.”
Cameras inside the House chamber spotted Cohen using his phone during the president’s address.
Michael Pagan, the congressman’s communications director, did not immediately return phone calls or email today. An aide answering the phone in Cohen’s congressional office said Pagan was unavailable.
Cohen’s biography on his congressional website does not mention he has a daughter. Cohen served 24 years in the Tennessee state Senate before he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006.