GOP congressman apologizes for scolding Park Service ranger
October 18th, 2013
06:43 PM ET
6 months 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 (448 Responses)
  1. 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 |
  2. 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 |
  3. 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 |
  4. Jo Se

    Let me test which way the wind is blowing. We need conviction in both senses of the word.

    October 19, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Mitch

    Typical Republican tactics: cause a horrible problem then blame it on your opponents and publicly shame innocent bystanders. And then, some weeks later, oh so quietly, apologize for your insanity.

    October 19, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. ryan

    Why would anyone apologise to one of Obama's anti American minions. This nation must wage war against her enemies. Obama is enemy #1. If the US is to continue to exist than Obama MUST be defeated. Otherwise it could very well be the end of the Republic.

    October 19, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. Rita

    the Tea Party represents all that is wrong with America;....division, miscalculated anger, wimps to the Rich, medievel ideas and morality similiar to the Taliban....destruction of government at all costs (even our beautiful parks)....of course no one in their right mind bellieves their vision.

    October 19, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  8. Mary Ann

    He must know his and the GOP are going to be losing a lot of election!

    October 19, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. Maimonida

    He can apologize all he wants. These videos will follow him

    October 19, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. ACSJ

    He should not have apologized. The ranger was wrong

    October 19, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. SB

    Nice try, spinning it to sound like he was just in a foul mood. But everyone who saw the video knows he actually clueless. He genuinely didn't understand that HE closed the park. He's clearly over his head in government service and doesn't understand the things he's voting on. Terrifying.

    October 19, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  12. Will

    He is ONLY sorry that he got CAUGHT,

    October 19, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  13. stuart

    This is indicative of the Republicans not respecting that government workers do a fine job. They have for years said the government and therefore its workers need to be eliminated and if it is said over and over they started to believe it. When it stops servicing services they want we now see ranting that the service is not being provided. This latest Tea Party fiasco shows how little they care for the country first but only their political agenda. To these politicians it's party first, hate Obama and Democrats second and the country and its people last.

    October 19, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  14. joker

    these irresponsible republicans shut down the government and then pass off the blame on everyone else. how do you like that for your tea. vote these tea party candidates out before they ruin the world economy and destroy our government.

    October 19, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  15. YUCK

    Bob, you slammed it.

    October 19, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  16. Don

    If many of the sites were left insecure and had gotten vandalized, these same republicans would have blame president Obama's administration for not adequately securing those sites. Yet when the right thing was done they still were abusive to the individuals who were doing the jobs that congress enacted legislations requiring these Federal employees to do. These republicans are really confused. I am however please to see that Congressman Neugebauer had came forward to apologize to an American who was doing the right thing in the line of duty and I am further please that the park ranger did not give him any photo opportunity which he may have wanted why he was seeking to apologize to the P. R. personally. Now he and his republican colleagues can move on to work with president Obama and their fellow congress democrats to help make the American government work for America.

    October 19, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  17. Edward Madison

    This is the usual nonsense from these types. They say outrageous things and then apologize later knowing full well that it was all done to pander to their political base. Who is to blame for this? Well, we are! Someone sends these idiots to Washington! You can bet the good folks in TX that elected him will continue to do so! A sad commentary!

    October 19, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  18. Jeb

    The park Ranger was working without pay since the Republican Congressman voted to shut down the government.

    How insane was it for the Congressman to then scold the Park Ranger?

    That's today's Republican party for you.

    October 19, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  19. Gerry Daley

    Figures that the guy is a Republican from Texas...the chief breeding ground of truly nasty and unintelligent people. I wish they would simply make good on their threat to secede. The nation would be better off without them.

    October 19, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  20. Jonathan May

    The Congressman only backed down when he was confronted by a bystander who said that the park was closed and the government shutdown because he (and the rest of Congress) didn't do his job by passing a budget. The ranger was a total professional.

    October 19, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  21. Do

    These conservatives and republicans are the idiot party want to destroy the country. If I were them, I would stop arrogance behavior in the country

    October 19, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  22. 111Dave111

    The Park Service should be proud to have public servants as capable as that Ranger. I was filled with pride when I watched her in actions is a complicated situation. Angry and unreasonable actions by a Senior citizen is a special situation, especially a Senior citizen from a broken hame in a poor state.

    October 19, 2013 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  23. DaMenace1

    The radical wing of the Republican Party is in major damage control mode.
    Too little, way too late.

    October 19, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  24. pyusmc66

    An apology from this P.O.S. is as worthless as he is. He should be removed from office.

    October 19, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  25. Paul

    Let's see if I have this right. GOP leads the fight to shut down the gov't. This congressman's own representative from Texas was leading a fake filibuster all but threatening other Republicans to shut down the gov't. When it does get shut down, then GOP try to open "bits and pieces" when they see a good photo op. So in summary, Gop legislator votes to shut down the govt, then yells at a park ranger when they do. Go Figure!!!!!

    October 19, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
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