Has the career-destroying menace of Twitter – perhaps one of the most formidable job-killers since ObamaCare – struck again?
What really gets you in trouble, when you use Twitter a lot, is the accidental public transmission of a message that was supposed to be private, also known as a “DM” for Direct Message. A DM is seen only by the person you send it to. Default Tweets are seen by the entire world. (And if you’re using software that juggles multiple Twitter accounts, you’ve got to be sure each message is sent from the correct one, so you don’t send something saucy from your boss’ official account.)
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) was firing off a stream of Tweets from the State of the Union address (commonly abbreviated as SOTU) when he accidentally sent a few public messages that were supposed to have been eyes-only for a woman named Victoria Brink. She had just sent him a message excitedly informing him that she caught a glimpse of him on television. Cohen’s replies, which he has now deleted from Twitter, were:
“nice to know you were watchin SOTU (State of the union). Happy Valentines beautiful girl. ilu”
“pleased u r watching. ilu”
“ilu” stands for “I love you.” Who’s Victoria Brink? She’s the 24-year-old blonde swimsuit-model “daughter of a longtime friend,” as Cohen’s communications director put it, in the course of insisting there was nothing improper about the communications. Cohen is 63 and has never been married.
New York magazine observes that Cohen and Brink have been corresponding via Twitter for quite some time. A previous Cohen message read, as originally typed: “miss u/wil call later_-give me a good time/on Mississippi River with Coast Guard now.love you” He’s not the most precise smart-phone typist. Maybe he was excited about something when he was writing that one.
Nobody here is committing any crime. Neither of them is married. Both Brink and Cohen are above the age of consent… 6 and 45 years above the age of consent in Tennessee, respectively. But as Charlie Spiering of the Washington Examiner asked, “If you were Cohen’s friend, wouldn’t you be disturbed that he was privately messaging ‘I love you’ to your daughter?”
For some reason, Cohen nevertheless felt he had to delete these Twitter messages. Did you know there’s a website called Politiwhoops that saves the deleted Tweets of politicians? Rep. Cohen does now.
Update: In a surprise twist, Cohen wrapped up a day of uncomfortable foot-shuffling by revealing that Victoria Brink is not a friend’s daughter, but actually the daughter he never knew he had, until three years ago. What was the point behind not saying that immediately? What was the point of deleting those Twitter messages, which are perfectly sweet and entirely non-controversial if she’s his daughter? The Congressman left his spokesman twisting in the wind, for no good reason. At any rate, all’s well that ends well.