Congressman's mystery tweets explained

Critics questioned the propriety of an unmarried US representative from Tennessee tweeting a Valentine's message to a young woman during the State of the Union address. Now we know the true story behind Rep. Steve Cohen's messages.

Amid talk of bolstering cybersecurity and reducing the federal deficit at Tuesday's State of the Union address, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., had other issues on his mind.

During the address, The Hill reported that the congressman was exchanging intimate tweets with a 24-year-old blonde named Victoria Brink. "Nice to know you were watchin SOTU (state of the union). Happy Valentines beautiful girl. Ilu," Cohen tweeted, before deleting the missives soon after.

At the time, some speculated that Brink was Cohen's girlfriend; the congressman isn't married. Of course, there's nothing technically wrong with having a younger significant other, but many felt it was inappropriate for Cohen to be exchanging sweet nothings with her during the president's biggest speech of the year.

After the incident, according to The Washington Post, the executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party issued a statement calling Cohen the "Anthony Weiner of the South," referring to the disgraced U.S. representative from New York who tweeted sexually suggestive pictures of himself to women.

Turns out, there's very little salacious about Cohen's tweets. In fact, the conclusion is quite heartwarming. Victoria Brink is Steve Cohen's long-lost daughter, whom he found out about only three years ago.

"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. I had such joy that I couldn't hold back from tweeting her," Cohen told NBC News yesterday.

Cohen says he discovered his relationship with Brink when he looked up online her mother — an old friend of his — and saw she had a daughter, which led him to crunch some numbers and put the pieces together.

He hasn't spoken publicly about Brink, which is why his staff said after the State of the Union that she was just the daughter of a close friend. Even they did not know the truth about Brink and Cohen's relationship. Cohen said that the tweets he sent his daughter were meant to be private messages and that he hadn't publicly revealed his relationship with her in order to protect her privacy.

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