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. Fish

    Unlike the Tea poopers the veterans understand that the Ranger was simply doing her duty and following orders!!! If these load mouths would ever serve anything but themselves they would know that. He should apologize on his knees to her and to the veterans who witnessed his disrespectful actions!!!

    October 19, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. Joe

    This moron embarassed himself, his party, and his district. If he were truly sorry he should not only apologize but should volunteer and spend a couple days working for the park service changing trash bags or doing some other dirty job. He should put his money where his mouth is. He does have freedom of speach and that allows him to say whatever he wishes no matter how stupid but this was a demonstration of how some congressmen believe they are above the rest of us. When a camera is around they will step on the little people to get ahead. What a disgrace.

    October 19, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |

    His side of the fence caused the shutdown and cost us 24 billion,Hold on to your hats this is coming up again Jan 2014

    October 19, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. JLS1950

    Demonstrating once again that Republicans are UTTERLY CLUELESS as to the damage that they themselves cause when they go on these petulant rampages in Congress.

    October 19, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  5. EG

    The show this guy, Michelle Bachman and Ted Cruz put on at the memorial turned my stomach. I really got sick when Michelle Bachman kissed the old vet like she cared. The only thing this showed me was how far they will go to mis-lead the people.

    October 19, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. Namefed bureaucrat

    He was there to score publicity. The nerve of him to tell her to do her job, she was at the time with no guaranty she would be paid. All the while he is collrctng his salary and not doing his job! !

    October 19, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  7. vivian

    He apologized because he was going to be charged with harassment and ethics violations.

    October 19, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  8. Paul P. Valtos

    These people were from what state, LBJ, George W. Bush, Ted Cruz and this guy. Is it the air or the water.

    October 19, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Liz the First

    The entire repug party needs to apologize to the whole country. twenty-five billion dollars and counting down the drain to make a point we all already know, they don't like Obamacare! well, wah! they were like a child whose mom won't let him play ball in the house so he kills mom and burns down the house. kick these anarchists to the curb in '14!!!!!

    October 19, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. Steph

    He should be reminded it was his own party's fault the parks were closed in the first place

    October 19, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  11. Proud Fed

    The professionalism the Park Service employee exhibited during the confrontation and continues to exhibit makes me proud to be a career federal employee, and a member of the same Department. The Representative from Texas not only exhibited ignorance, rudeness, and arrogance, but a complete lack of understanding of the position of federal employees during the shutdown. A shining example of the GOP in action.

    October 19, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  12. Jerry Brickey

    His behavior is the kind of thing we've come to expect from national politicians, especially members of Congress. There are some good members there, but many seem poorly informed and largely interested in self-promotion. Too bad. We deserve better.

    October 19, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  13. Mike

    While you'd hope his behavior would cause the voters in his district to reconsider their choice for their Representative, this guy is from Texas, where his actions are simply proof he is a "Real American". As a "Real American", he uses his position of power to place the Ranger in a bad position and then blames her. Classic GOP, the little people are the cause of all problems, so pay them less (or not at all as in this case) and hope they starve.

    October 19, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  14. John

    A good example of a public servant doing her job perfectly and earning every cent of her modest salary. Meanwhile, an elected official is grandstanding. He did absolutely no work for his salary. Great free press for him and his next campaign. The ranger was tactful and was too modest to defer recognition of her fine work. Good job to the Park Service and the ranger. If we had more in Congress like her, the Congress could actually get work done instead of engaging in partisan politics.

    October 19, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. truthdefender

    He should have been shaking a finger at his fellow repubs, not at a park ranger who was doing her job while not being paid. She was not being paid, because a repub shut down the government.

    October 19, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. Jman

    The irony is indeed very rich!!!!!!!

    October 19, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. ChrisM

    Would this Texas Congressman Neugebauer apologize if he was not caught on camera. NO.

    October 19, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  18. kahuna

    How ironic that his party and the TP idiots caused the shutdown in the first place

    Neugebauer is Texas trailer trash. Resign now!

    October 19, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  19. Rosslaw

    The main lesson is that Neugebauer genuinely seemed surprised to find out what he and the similarly DNA-deprived members of the republican party had shut down when they voted to shut the federal government down. They not only followed a path so stupid that the republicans have raised the bar on stupid to historic levels, but were so stupid that they did not understand the consequences of their own decision. Stupid squared?

    October 19, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  20. John M

    They should run him out of office!

    October 19, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  21. Theo

    I think the Ranger will have the class to accept the apology and move on. The congressman let his mouth overload his brain and he will be remembered for that.

    October 19, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. Bob Warner

    The congressman's actions are illustrative of the modern conservative worldview; they think that all of our government services are rendered magically with no need for taxes. They shutdown the government but expect the services that the government- like national parks and monuments- provides to continue unabated. The shame is yours, congressman, not that of our hardworking and loyal rangers.

    October 19, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  23. victor yao

    How can rep. Randy Neugebauer don't even know the laws associated with his shut down of the government? How can we be paying this kind of salary and perks to a lawmaker who has no idea what our laws are? I am dumbfounded as to how texans would elect someone like that. I guess when you are ignorant you must like to elect ignorant candidate. I hope is not due to stupidity, which is forever.

    October 19, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. mnunns

    "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.

    He should have added:

    "And the fact that I am a complete idiot."

    October 19, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  25. NameJo Se

    Talk about a brief flash of bravery totally wiped out by the subsequent need to appear above it all.

    October 19, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
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