Rep. Cohen Says He Was ‘Attacked’ For Saying ‘Something Nice To A Reporter’

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) said Monday he had been “attacked” for telling a female reporter that she was “very attractive” last week when she tried to interview him about his recent problems.

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Cohen recalled a conversation he had with a tow truck driver over the weekend when he had some car problems. The auto trouble came at the end of a tumultuous week in which he was forced to apologize for calling the reporter attractive, and in which a paternity test revealed a woman he united with late in life wasn’t actually his daughter.

“I come out and tell him the story. I said I’ve had a tough week, let me tell ya,” Cohen said. “Find daughter, great. Find out it’s not daughter, blitz. Say something nice to a reporter, get attacked.”

Cohen was also asked on “Morning Joe” about a tweet he posted Sunday that referenced the conversation he had with the tow truck driver and raised some eyebrows. It said the driver had compared the lawmaker to a black man for all of his recent troubles: “Told AfricanAmerican towdriver my week -father -DNA test not father reporter/ attractive fallout.he(not aware of TN9)says,You’re BLack! Yo”

Cohen defended the tweet and tried to put it in context of the broader conversation.

“I said it’s just been hell,” Cohen said. “He goes, ‘Man, you’re black.’ And I took it as a compliment. I hear it in Memphis all the time. My constituents don’t look at me as a white person.”


This post has been updated.


Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at