Congressman Steve Cohen pulls one over on the press and gives a nod to Memphis soul music…all in the same tweet.
It seemed like the Tennessee Democrat had planted himself in the middle of another embarrassing twitter controversy. In February, the congressman sent a series of tweets to a 24-year old Victoria Brink. “Happy Valentines beautiful girl,” read a portion of one of the tweets.
Unsurprisingly, the tweets went viral, as did the question of whether Cohen was in the midst of a relationship with the woman. Cohen is not married, but the nearly 40-year age difference between Cohen and Brink and the seemingly flirtatious nature of his tweets were enough to set off some buzz.
The mystery was solved days later when Cohen divulged that Ms. Brink was actually his daughter, and that he found out about her only three years ago. “I Googled her mother, found out she had a child and the math looked pretty accurate,” Cohen explained to NBC News.
The story doesn’t end there. The congressman was apparently less than pleased with all the attention paid to his family as the situation played out. And he devised a way to play “gotcha” with the press.
On Tuesday, he saw his opportunity. Cohen attended a PBS tribute to Memphis Soul music at the White House. Later that night, some of Cohen’s followers took note of his tweet to singer Cyndi Lauper, who performed at the event. “great night, couldn’t believe how hot u were. See you again next Tuesday. Try a little tenderness.” When the tweet was deleted 21 minutes later, it seemed like a typical case of a politician realizing too late that phrases like “how hot” are best reserved for a discussion of the weather. But the controversy was flipped on its head on Friday, when Cohen called a press conference to show his true colors.
“I tweeted exactly what I wanted to tweet and I deleted exactly what I wanted to delete,” he said. “Because in this age, which I learned a couple of months ago with a situation with some very loving tweets to my daughter, I discovered the best way to get a message out is to tweet and delete.” In other words, Cohen successfully punked the press as payback for the unwanted attention he garnered back in February.
There remains one unsolved piece of the puzzle. Cohen told reporters he tipped off fellow Democratic Congressmen John Yarmuth and Joe Courtney on Monday, well before Lauper’s performance took place. Spokesmen for both Yarmuth and Courtney however, say Cohen clued them in only after the tweet went out.
Whose “gotcha” now?