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.

RNC offers to pay for WWII memorial guards

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. nvwoman

    His outburst was abuse of authority, but got him media time and made his party "proud."

    October 19, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. JJ

    Only 'apologized' because he got caught on video. Like Mitt Romney.

    Thanks GOP, make us all proud.

    October 19, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. John

    Another Republican Congress who says outrageous things to get media attention decides later on that what he did wasn't really nice at all. His apology rings untrue like so many other of their utterances. Listen to what they say the first time. That probably reveals who they really are.

    October 19, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. Mr HOP

    Someone must have held his :feet to the fire" and now he's back trying to wheedle out of a foolish and embarrassing scene!

    October 19, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. Seb

    If the congressman would have done his job in the first place, she would never have been in this situation. Embarrassing that he would blame the ranger for his short comings.

    October 19, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  6. candy

    Thus, it is proven that one "big government handout" receiver – the park ranger – has a lot more class than another "big government handout" receiver – the congressman. I wonder which of them should be cut.

    If nothing else, the shutdown shows that the government might not be too big. Rather, it's corruption/cheating and lax of oversight, of both the small-scale (welfare cheaters) and the big-time (millionaire and corporate cheaters) kinds, that make the government overly bloated.

    October 19, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. Wake up People!

    A phony apology. He didn't mean it. Just like every time someone calls blacks nappy head or that dreaded 6 letter word, they apologize when it gets out, but they don't mean it.

    He should be recalled or forced to resign.

    October 19, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  8. mojoquasi

    That's the big problem with these new Republican Tea Party type congressmen. They suffer from terminal stupidity. Most high school kids I know wouldn't have been that dumb.....or that unthinkingly arrogant.

    October 19, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  9. Mona

    You betcha it was staged.....just like Cruz welcoming back the vets when the shutdown was over! Shame on them, shame on their party....they should be made to write on the blackboard 24 billion times "I will not be a glory seeker!"

    October 19, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. Better Times

    I would like to applaud this apology but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth that he felt it necessary to publicize even his apology. He makes it all about him .... again.

    October 19, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    I would like to know who are the IDIOTS that keep putting Republicans in office

    October 19, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Didn't want to apologize to the Ranger's face? What a coward.

    October 19, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. Pander Bear

    Headline should read "GOP congressman regrets being caught on camera scolding Park Service ranger". FIFY.

    October 19, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. Marie MD

    @coroner, you need to surround yourself with people who are alive, now the fools from faux news.
    The teatards shutdown the government. Memorials re part of our national park service and the rangers Re there to answer questions and make sure people don't do something stupid to the monuments.
    I guess working in a basement keeps you from much needed sun and fresh air.
    The ones who should apologize to the vets are the ones responsible for the shutdown. The same hypocrites who came by to have their pictures take with them.

    October 19, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Another GOPer talking without thinking. GOP approval around 24% now. That is why he is apologizing. The ship is sinking.

    October 19, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. Dan

    I love when crazy Republicans apologize. They are always the most insincere apologies, and this one is no different. And if this altercation wasn't filmed, there would have been NO apology, I guarantee that.

    October 19, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. DaveF

    People want him to resign for being rude? LOL...if that's the case Harry Reid should've been gone years ago.

    October 19, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  18. akwildflower

    Your 'tone' was not offensive. That, like a small child in a temper tantrum, you actually put your tea party

    October 19, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  19. OL

    Typical video of congressman berating a park official but only posting a letter of apology that scant viewers will see. Yellow/Baiting journalism at its best.

    October 19, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  20. Phillyfarmer

    Where is the president's apology to the veterans? He made the choice to make the shut down as painful for the American people as possible. The MSM lied to the American people by not telling the whole story. Obama and Reid refused to negotiate over a healthcare law we don't want, nor do we still to this day know exactly what is in it. There is no apology necessary here, only from Obama, Reid and Pelosi for their socialist, vindictive behavior.

    October 19, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. Pat in IL

    Another idiot Texas politician. How do they get so many???

    October 19, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. Phillyfarmer

    I un-apologize for the rep. He was perfectly correct in reprimanding an American who fell in lockstep with a horrible decision made by what has become the spitehouse. She should have stood up for the vets and removed the barriers, that is what real americans do. Sadly she has become a robot and does not serve we the people. These monuments belong to the people, not the National Park Service or they president. They are caretakers who work for us, nothing more. Jarvis is obviously suffering from dementia since he doesn't even remember who told him to barricade OPEN AIR monuments. This is who we have overseeing our precious parks and monuments???? We need to be calling for his resignation as well as the park rangers for not standing up for the visitors they were hired to serve. Would she jump off the Washington Monument if they asked her to? Gestapo tactics are not ok. Closing and obstructing the view of our parks and monuments is NOT OK!!! Wake up people we're looking more and more like Russia.

    October 19, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  23. cbp

    His outburst was not necessary. It was his party which refused to work towards a settlement which would have made the shutdown unnecessary. He looked rather foolish. There was a lot of blame to go around. However, government employees were not to blame. His apology is not worth a plug nickel.

    October 19, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  24. mlwells

    Congressman Neugebauer's beratement of this ranger were reprehensible and his "apology" both insincere and inadequate! Like elections, decisions – regardless of purpose – have consequences. In this instance, the ranger had no control over the shutdown. In fact, she was likely working WITHOUT PAY – the Congressman was certainly being paid. And, he CHOSE to shutdown the government! He could likely afford to forego 3-4 weeks of pay ... she likely could not! Yet, SHE was "doing the job she was hired to do". I agree that it was shameful that our veterans could not visit their memorial, that citizens were unable to visit THEIR national parks, etc. But, NONE of the employees had anything to do with the closures – none had a voice in the decision to shutdown the government. The effects of the shutdown will linger for months ... consider all of the small businesses and local communities dependent upon the revenue gained from the national parks – and the lost tax revenue! For what purpose? Standing on principal? We can only hope that voters remember the cost of the shutdown in November, 2014!

    October 19, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  25. Phillyfarmer

    When the republicans send budget after budget to Harry Reid and he refuses to negotiate it is common sense that the democrats shut down the government and blamed the republicans. Dems are masters at deception and the MSM allows them to get away with it leaving americans to blame the wrong party because of very bad information.

    October 19, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
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