The Tennessee congressman embroiled in a mini-scandal today for sending, then deleting, sappy Tweets to a 24-year-old Texas State University student says the woman is his secret daughter.
The Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit organization that advocates for transparency in politics, captured images of U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen’s deleted messages sent from the floor of the U.S. House during the State of the Union address on Tuesday, New York Magazine’s Daily Intelligencer blog reported Thursday morning. One of them read, “Happy Valentines beautiful girl. [I love you].”
In a different exchange, the congressman tweeted to Brink: “miss u/wil call later _ -give me a good time”
The tender tone of the messages — and their quick disappearance after Cohen seemingly thought better of it — set media tongues wagging. A number of news outlets, including the San Marcos Mercury, described the messages as “flirty,” or worse. The conservative political blog Red State ran a story under the headline, “Is Steve Cohen schtupping his buddy’s daughter?”
Now NBC reporter Luke Russert and others are reporting that Cohen thinks Victoria Brink, who attends Texas State’s fashion merchandising program, is his daughter. When news of the intimate exchanges spilled into the news cycle Thursday morning, Cohen’s spokesman initially said that Brink was the daughter of an old family friend.
Cohen had lost contact with Brink’s mother until he Googled her about three years ago and discovered she had a daughter, he told Russert and other journalists.
“I found out she had a child and the math looked pretty accurate. The mom told me we had a lot of catching up to do,” Cohen told NBC News. “I’ve been able to take her on a tour of the Capitol and the White House, I want her to see my world and be a part of it.” –
9:15 p.m. FEB. 14: Texas State’s 2010-2011 student directory lists Victoria Brink as a junior. She could not be immediately reached at two listed phone numbers. –
Brink … is also the daughter of a Texas criminal defense lawyer, Cynthia White Sinatra, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2006 against Libertarian Ron Paul, who was a candidate for president last year.
Cohen declined to describe the affair with Sinatra, saying only, “her mother and I have been friends for a long time.” There had been a hiatus, “but we renewed our friendship when I found out she was the mother of my child.”
According to her law firm web page, Sinatra, 60, is a criminal defense lawyer who was married to Frank Sinatra, Jr., the son of the famous “Old Blue Eyes.” She has represented criminal defendants before the International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, including Dragan Jokic, a Bosnia Serb accused of genocide, murder and torture in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.
Here are the Tweets from the breaking news:
Rep Cohen said reports suggesting a sexual relationship w/ the woman who turned out to be his daughter were “hurtful” + “distasteful”