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. FrankinSD

    Now when will this yokel and his fellow Republicans apologize to the rest of us for flushing 24 billion dollars of economic activity down the drain in a vain attempt to deny health insurance to about 11 million Americans.

    October 19, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  2. Jake Reimer

    The ultimate in hypocrisy, the republicans cause the shutdown, and then one of the losers has the nerve to do this?
    The ranger should be ashamed? Not for a second, but Neugebower should be, as should the whole republican clown show. If they keep trying to disrupt democracy, maybe they should be charged with treason.

    October 19, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  3. Richard

    I saw this dialogue on the news and couldn't believe how clueless Rep. Randy Neugebauer is. He and his buddies in Congress caused the shutdown, not the park ranger, and yet he was trying to shame the ranger in public. Amazing example of idiocy at work.

    October 19, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  4. oldbones24

    "I regret how I handled that situation, and I would like to offer you my apologies," he added.
    Jeeees he's the reason it was closed, what a jerk! If you follow the herd, then suffer the consequences. The GOP have committed political suicide and they're too dumb to know it.

    October 19, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  5. PTAllen

    This was a bad situation for the Ranger, she was doing the job she was told to do, and by all accounts maintained her professionalism. The same can not be said for the Congressman who was rude and disrespectful, and if the Congress had been more professional in the first place, and done their job, this situation would have never come about.
    Typical political move, go for headlines at the expense of someone else, then make a discreet apology later. I'm not surprised she didn't want to speak to him personally, I wouldn't have either.

    October 19, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  6. Cin13

    If anyone should be ashamed of himself it should be Neugebauer. You were the ones that voted for the shutdown, and then to berate a rank-and-file employee who was just trying to doing her job... what a jerk! Well, guess what, Mr. Neugebauer and other Republicans, your actions have consequences, and to try to blame those consequences on other people is really, really lame.

    October 19, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  7. jimdevo

    This guy's a piece of garbage. If he runs for re-election he MUST lose. He doesn't deserve a position in Congress. As a Congressman he is partly to blame for the shutdown. If anything the park ranger should have scolded him! Thankfully someone did. Rep. Randy Neugebauer is both unpatriotic and UNAMERICAN!!! Another disgrace to our country!

    October 19, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  8. Steve P

    This congressman may be unaware that outside Texas such attempts to play both sides of an issue are readily recognized and properly labeled as "pathetic hypocrisy".

    October 19, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. Trevor

    Republicans caused the shut down, but we're upset by the shut down. These folks require heavy medication.

    October 19, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  10. iceload

    "the ranger requested to stay anonymous and preferred the congressman write a letter" a classy lady, dealing with a rude child.

    October 19, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  11. Kane

    Perfect display of self-righteousness.

    October 19, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Steve

    The Congressman is the one who should be ashamed. He obviously has little regard for people.

    October 19, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  13. Random Generic

    Whoo boyo! What kind of idiot conspires to shut down the government and then berates a government employee for his own actions?

    October 19, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  14. Charlie

    The park service should be ashamed for allowing themselves to be a pawn in a political fight they should have refused to shut down anything that they normally do not close on any other given days. They should have refuse to close and continued working knowing they would Receive back pay

    October 19, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  15. Greg Clapton

    You showed your TRUE colors here Rep. Neugebauer. Time for you to be voted out of office, because you should be ashamed of yourself and you certainly do not represent the views of all us Texicans!

    October 19, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  16. DTurner

    No opology is needed. The libs never apologize for their remarks. The Parkstopo may have only been following orders from Dear Leader but their actions were unacceptable towards our Vets.

    October 19, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  17. indysteve9

    This fool knew exactly what he was doing. It was a chance to get his face on the news, a photo op if you will, and make it seem he really cared about the "little" people. He's a disgusting pig!

    October 19, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  18. R. Figueroa

    It is truly amazing that members of congress can berate the Parks Service for closing memorials and parks. Let's remember a few months ago someone went to the Lincoln memorial and the National Cathederal and sprayed green paint. Imagine what would happen if the Park Service just abandons their posts and alows garbage to pile up, vandalism, or worse yet, crime with no one to police these areas. Would Rep. Randy Neugebauer vote to shut down the government if he lost his pay and perks until the shutdown ended? It's mighty brave of someone who's position is to place thousands of people on furlough on principle and still collect a paycheck. That is a shame indeed.

    October 19, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  19. Name

    A Republican from TX being a bully and an idiot. Not exactly big news.

    October 19, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  20. Mick Sturgill

    He's only apologizing because of the bad press he received. And just how stupid is he? Talks to the park ranger like it's her fault after he voted for the shutdown. Evidently he doesn't understand SHUTDOWN!

    October 19, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  21. David G

    The only reason he apologized was because of the flak the Congressman received. Instead of an apology why not resign you BULLY.

    October 19, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  22. john smith

    This apology is empty without some action of penance for his extremely rude behavior, a letter is not enough in my opinion. When Mitt Romney apologized for his 47% comment, he still pocketed all the money from the event. Words are empty for a lot of politicians, but 'their time' is over-priced in their minds and in reality too. Do something for a mammal, so we understand you know the meaning of giving! The park ranger was/is a fine example of standing your ground but not "arguing with visitors".....especially since the irony of the truth behind the congressman presence at a closed Federal property.

    October 19, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  23. Diana

    If I was the park ranger I would request Rep. Randy Neugebauer, a Texas Republican resign. His behavior was disgusting. Who needs someone like that in Congress? The man is an idiot. He wasn't caught up in the emotion (I doubt he served in any war) it was staged for the cameras. He is just sorry the staging backfired.

    October 19, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  24. Tune a fish

    Not cool. She was just doing her job as assigned and he berated her. All the apologies in the world don't change his true character.

    October 19, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  25. Joe Gerrity

    The irony of a Republican rep telling a park ranger they should be ashamed FOR DOING THEIR JOB, is truly astounding.

    October 19, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
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