Steve Cohen announced that he will introduce articles of impeachment against President Trump. The Tennessee Congressman made his announcement on Thursday, releasing a statement that said the following:
Trump has failed the presidential test of moral leadership. No president would ever shy away from outright condemning hate, intolerance, and bigotry. No moral president would ever question the values of Americans protesting in opposition of such actions.
Cohen, 68, added that he believes President Trump has “shown time and time again that he lacks the ethical and moral rectitude to be President of the United States.”
Read on to learn more about Cohen, his personal life, and his political career:
1. He Cites Trump’s Handling of the Charlottesville Attack as Cause for Impeachment
According to The Washington Examiner, Cohen said the president’s comments in response to the events in Charlottesville led him to believe that he should be impeached.
“After the President’s comments on Saturday, August 12 and again on Tuesday, August 15, in response to the horrific events in Charlottesville” he stated, “I believe the President should be impeached and removed from office.”
“As a Jew and as an American and as a representative of an African American district,” Cohen continued, “I am revolted by the fact that the president of the United States couldn’t stand up and unequivocally condemn Nazis who want to kills Jews and whose predecessors murdered 6 million Jews during the Holocaust, and could not unequivocally condemn Klansmen whose organization is dedicating to terrorizing African Americans.”
Cohen’s articles of impeachment are not the first time such an effort has been made against the president. Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman of California and Al Green of Texas filed similar articles last month over the investigation into “Russian meddling” during the 2016 election.
2. He Was Elected to the Tennessee Senate in 1982 & Held the Position for 24 Years
Steve Cohen was born on May 24, 1949 in Memphis, Tennessee. When he was five, Cohen was diagnosed with polio, a condition he told Commercial Appeal made him “very aware of people with disabilities.” He went on to say that he refused to let polio affect his quality of life as a boy, and would play sports all throughout high school while also serving as class president.
He graduated from Vanderbilt University and Memphis State University law school in 1971, and received his Juris Doctor from the University of Memphis School of Law two years later. He served a three-year stint as a legal adviser to the Memphis Police Department, but it wasn’t until 1982 that Cohen’s career aspirations began to take shape.
Cohen was elected to the Tennessee Senate as the representative for the 30th District. According to his official website, he held this position for 24 years, during which time he “amassed a strong record of passionate, honest and unselfish service.”
This included drafting and passing a resolution to create one of the first state Holocaust Commissions in America in 1984, as well as offering support on topics ranging from the arts to women’s rights and animal welfare.
During his time with the Senate, he also became known as the “Father of the Tennessee Lottery,” as a result of his instituting one of the most successful education initiative in Tennessee history. His website states that “Countless students have benefited from Congressman Cohen’s tireless efforts to provide Tennesseans with access to affordable, quality, post-secondary education.”
3. He Was Thought to Have a Daughter, but DNA Tests Proved Otherwise in 2013
In 2013, Cohen sent — then deleted — a series of tweets to an aspiring Houston model Victoria Brink that said: “Nice to know you were watchin’ SOTU Happy Valentines beautiful girl. Ilu.” After the tweets went viral, and many assumed that the Congressman was keeping his romance with Brink private, he revealed that she is actually a daughter he had no knowledge of until a fews years earlier.
He told The Washington Post that he knew Brink’s mother a long time ago and has lost contact with her for many years, until he googled her and discovered that she had a daughter. “I saw the date of the child’s birth and realized it was a pretty strong possibility it was my child,” he recalled.
Cohen went on to inform the Post that Brink has visited him several times in Washington after they reconnected. “I’m very proud of her,” he said,”I’m thrilled to have a relationship with her.”
This assumption did not last long however, as DNA tests taken in July of 2013 showed Cohen and Brink are not actually related. CNN stated that Brink’s real father is the man who raised her, Houston oilman John Brink. Cohen stated that he was “stunned and dismayed” by the outcome, but held no ill will towards Brink: “I still love Victoria, hold dear the time I have shared with her and hope to continue to be part of her life.”
4. He Is the Few White Congressmen That’s Represented a Predominantly African American District
Since being elected to Congress in 2006 (he ran unsuccessfully in 1996), Cohen has become the first Jewish person to represent Tennessee and the first white Democrat to represent a significant portion of Memphis since Dan Kuykendall in 1966. The Washington Post adds that he is also one of the few white congressmen that has represented a predominantly African American district. In his victory speech, Cohen said his victory proved “Memphis has come a long, long way” from its racially divisive past.
The Washington Post reports that President Obama endorsed Cohen for re-election in 2010, saying “Congressman Cohen is a proven leader in the United States Congress and a strong voice for Tennessee. Together, we passed historic health care reform and together we’re continuing the fight to renew our economy and bring jobs back to the American people. I am proud to stand with Steve and support his re-election to Congress.”
In 2013, Cohen caught a bit of heat when he tweeted about someone who told him: “You’re black, yo!” The tweet caused many, including journalist Myles Miller, to question whether his remarks were offensive. Miller tweeted out that it was “wrong on so many levels.”
Cohen defended the tweet to MSNBC’s Morning Joe, saying “I took it as a compliment. I hear it in Memphis all the time. Here’s what happened: I drive an ’86 Caddy. A lot of African-Americans drive old cars – a stereotype – a lot of African-Americans drive old cars.”
5. There Have Been Rumors Regarding His Sexuality Over the Years
Due to the fact that he is unmarried and has no children, Cohen’s sexuality has often been the subject of debate. He even joked about in a 2007 article by The Hill titled “A Spouse, Who Needs It?” where he said “Having been out there so long, I used to be on the most eligible bachelors list. I don’t think you get promoted to the emeritus level. I think you become ineligible.”
A 2006 article by The New York Times also asserted that Cohen’s sexuality has been an easy target for political opponents and those who disagree with his viewpoints. “Critics of Mr. Cohen have made insinuations about his bachelorhood,” writes The Times, “He volunteers that he is not gay, but that he is simply ‘older'”.
According to Nashville Scene, however, Cohen did have a relationship with Gloria Houghland, a marketing teacher and magazine writer. His close friend Paula Casey also spoke of a romance he had in the late 1970s, with a woman simply known as Nancy. Cohen suggested that they might have married, and Casey affirmed that theirs was “a great love story. He was crazy about her.”
“Girls know I’m straight and gay guys know I’m straight,” Cohen affirmed,”I am a strong defender of people who are otherwise discriminated against.”