Who had the worst week in Washington? Rep. Steve Cohen.

Chris Cillizza
Reporter July 19, 2013

It started out as a surprising and sweet story.

During the State of the Union address in February, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) tweeted a message to a 20-something woman named Victoria Brink in which he said he missed and loved her. Ever suspicious, the press corps — shame! — hounded Cohen, asking how he knew this woman. He said that she was his long-lost daughter, something he had found out a few years back.

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House for the newspaper and Web site. View Archive

A happy ending, right? Not so much.

CNN commissioned a paternity test to make sure that Brink was indeed Cohen’s daughter. And — wait for it — she isn’t. Her dad is John Brink, who raised her as his own from birth.

Record scratch. Why didn’t Cohen ask for a paternity test when he found out this alleged daughter existed? “I didn’t have children. I was thrilled to have a daughter,” the Tennessee Democrat told CBS on Friday. And so he didn’t order DNA tests immediately. “I didn’t want for her to think in any way that I was somehow questioning the relationship or trying to avoid the relationship,” Cohen said. “For 31 / 2 years, I had a daughter, and it was nice to care about somebody and share.”

Now, contrary to popular belief, the Fix does have a heart. Simply because the daughter you thought was yours isn’t doesn’t mean you had the worst week in Washington.

What does? When you, as Cohen did, say this to a female reporter asking about the incident: “You’re very attractive, but I’m not talking about it.” Um, what? Cohen later apologized, saying he had had a rough week. We agree.

Steve Cohen, for turning yourself from sympathetic to slimy, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Have a candidate for the Worst Week in Washington? E-mail Chris Cillizza at chris.cillizza@washpost.com.

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