Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen told The Daily News Thursday, Feb. 14, that the 24-year-old woman he was messaging during Wednesday’s State of the Union address in Washington is his daughter.
“She is my daughter and I’ve known that for three years,” Cohen said, referring to Victoria Brink. “I was just very thrilled to find out I had a daughter. I’ve been thrilled to start to share experiences with her which has been a slow process. It’s escalated and elevated and that’s good. I’ve been able to bring her to Memphis and show her some things in the city … and get her to see my house and learn more about her father and hopefully she’ll start to appreciate some of the things I’ve appreciated and I can share them with her.”
Cohen’s office initially said Brink is the daughter of a long-time friend as reaction to the messages began to grow.
Cohen said he replied Wednesday evening to a message from her publicly instead of with a direct private message because “I was just so ecstatic about it.”
“She was watching the state of the union and proud to see her Dad on TV and that’s why I replied to her so quickly,” he said.
Cohen said part of his reason for going public was the reaction in the media and among some Republicans.
“Many of them took it in the totally wrong way and jumped on it – particularly the Republican Party of Tennessee and the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee,” Cohen told The Daily News.
Cohen attended the White House Christmas party with Brink late last year.
Brink was born while Cohen was a State Senator, five years before he ran in the Democratic primary for Tennessee governor and seven years before he made his first run for the U.S. Congress.