GOP congressman apologizes for scolding Park Service ranger
October 18th, 2013
06:43 PM ET
5 years ago

GOP congressman apologizes for scolding Park Service ranger

Washington (CNN) - Rep. Randy Neugebauer, a Texas Republican who berated a U.S. Park Service ranger at the then-barricaded World War II Memorial during the partial government shutdown, sent a letter of apology to the director of the National Park Service.

Neugebauer's office said he reached out soon after the October 2 incident to get the ranger's contact information to apologize in person, but they did not hear back from the Park Service until this week due to the shutdown.

According to Neugebauer's spokesperson, Heather Vaughan, the Park Service told his office that the ranger requested to stay anonymous and preferred the congressman write a letter to the director of the NPS, rather than call her personally.

In the letter, dated Thursday, October 17, Neugebauer wrote that he was "caught up" in emotion after seeing veterans turned away from the memorial, and "my tone was inappropriate."

"I regret how I handled that situation, and I would like to offer you my apologies," he added.

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The letter was hand-delivered on Friday, Vaughan said.

"I'm sorry for the way I spoke, not only because I put the Ranger on duty in an uncomfortable position, but also because my remarks were not an accurate reflection of the regard I have for the Park Service," he wrote.

When Neugebauer confronted the ranger at the memorial on October 2, he said, "How do you look at them...and deny them access? I don't get that."

The ranger responded saying, "It's difficult."

"It should be difficult," he said. "The Park Service should be ashamed of themselves."

She replied saying she was not ashamed.

"Well you should be," he told her.

While the memorial was technically barricaded during the shutdown, groups and individuals were free to enter the site to engage in First Amendment activities, according to National Park Service guidelines.

Veterans break past World War II Memorial barricade

Filed under: Government Shutdown
soundoff (445 Responses)
  1. Tom Puckett

    Typical Republican. This congressman voted to shut the government down and blames the problem on someone else. But you know what? I'll bet you a paycheck his voters put him right back into office on re-election. Now THAT will show the stupidity of the typical voter.

    October 19, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  2. tex

    how about an apology to the ENTIRE nation for the shutdown. THAT would the appropriate thing to do,

    October 19, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  3. JackieG

    The GOP Congressmen were the reason the memorial was shut down, then one of them blames a ranger! How typical.

    October 19, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  4. Anonymous

    The lawmakers should apologize for getting the parks shut down in the first place. The ranger was following orders and the lawmaker was totally in the wrong. They were acting like spoiled children when they don't get their way. Shame on all the elected officials from the top all the way to the bottom.

    October 19, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  5. Citizen Caine

    Now all we are going to hear from the GOP are going to be apologies. Sorry for this, sorry for that... what "We The People" should do is REVAMP Congress... New faces, new ideas... and shorter stays... it is time to end those "lifetime positions"...

    October 19, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  6. Agent44816

    She should not be ashamed, she was doing her job. He is the one who should be ashamed, because it was he that was not doing hi s job, he was to busy trying to use veterans for attention.

    October 19, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  7. Jon

    This piece of work should resign from Congress. That would be the most heatfelt apology. We don't need knuckle dragging wing nuts like him in Congress. It seems like Texas has an inordinate share of these loosers, Cruz, Rick Perry, and now Neugebauer. What is the matter with Texas?

    October 19, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  8. Chris

    Mr Neugebauer should be the embaressed party here. He and his ilk are the cause of the memorial closures. To come out to the memorial and deflect blame is childish and irresponsible. But, I guess, that's what our Congressmen and women have become

    October 19, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  9. toby levin

    Cowardly and self-serving- that is the correct description of what this troglodyte of a politician did in his bogus, hypocritical attack in the first place, and now with this 'apology'- do it on television, sir, where the world can see it as clearly as they saw your shameful attack.

    October 19, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  10. NancyBee

    Of course, he berated her for all the world to see but apologized privately. Nice move, Congressman... Typical of people who think they are bigshots.

    October 19, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  11. Jeb

    This GOP House member had the nerve to scold the park ranger who was working with no pay because he voted to shut down the government.

    Republicans clearly live in their own alternate reality.

    October 19, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  12. Anonymous

    If anyone should be ashamed of themselves it would be the stupid congressman who was not doing his job,he was one of the group who had caused the problem ,then to scold someone for doing their job is plain stupidy.

    October 19, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  13. Josh

    It's refreshing to see someone apologize simply for being a jerk. On the other hand, it's depressing that the bar has sunk so low that I can be impressed by that.

    October 19, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  14. Trishia Jacobs

    Neugebauer was part of the group responsible for the government shutdown and he tells the Park Ranger SHE should be ashamed of herself?????

    October 19, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  15. Dennis Freeman

    Apology? Baloney! Watching the video clip shows clearly he meant every word. The fact he was even there is another example of the hateful and mindless actions of the Tea Party/GOP.

    October 19, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  16. JJK

    Apologizing doesn't make him any less of an idiot. How is it the ranger's fault? As a matter of interest, does anyone know how Neugebauer voted in regards to the shutdown? Maybe he should have been 'scolding' his fellow GOP congressmen.

    October 19, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  17. Dave

    Apologize for what?

    October 19, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  18. Karen

    I wonder if that moron now recognizes the irony of a Republican yelling at a park official when the REPUBLICANS were the ones that forced the shutdown.

    October 19, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  19. DCayne

    Hey Neugebauer, YOU'RE the one who shutdown the government, NOT the park ranger. You hypocrite. How could you stand amongs those who sacrificed themselves from visiting a tribute to them, when it was YOU and YOU'RE other members that shut the government down. YOU caused it!

    October 19, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  20. Kris Boughton

    The congressman should have been ashamed. It's awfully hypocritical to berate a person doing their job, forced to turn away veterans from our nation's capitol because the congressman and his colleagues couldn't come together and fulfill the most basic obligation of their office.

    October 19, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  21. Tina J.

    A politician told a Park Service employee that she should be ashamed? That's rather ironic seeing as how it's the politicians that caused the closing of the parks in the first place.

    October 19, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  22. Anonymous

    He can't change what he did. He helped close it and tried to put the blame on a park ranger. He is sorry because he was caught on TV.

    October 19, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  23. RDH

    I wouldn't have apoligized. Just because it your job doesn't make it right. If anything should have been shut down during that dog and pony show it should have been the domestic spy agency the NSA.

    October 19, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  24. jonline

    What an jerk. You shouldn't be able to act out and say I'm sorry later

    October 19, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  25. BillSD33

    He should be writing an apology to Americans for supporting putting 800,000 people out of a job, for costing the country $24 billion and for putting his party theology before anything else.

    October 19, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
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