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. David

    The shame was all his! He apologized and will probably do it again in January.

    October 19, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  2. john smith


    October 19, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  3. Steve

    Neugebauer is the most far right member of Congress, and I'm ashamed to say he represents my district. This was just another act of opportunistic outrage by an insincere politician, and the apology is just as insincere.

    October 19, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  4. Hugh Harvey

    Just another typical arrogant Republican congressman. I see Con. Neugebauer as a prime example of the Tea Party wing of the Republican party. By the way does anyone know what kind of leaves they are putting in their "TEA"?

    October 19, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  5. C. Christian

    The park ranger is to be commended for her response to the dressing down give to her by that person.
    He, was very rude and his complaint was totally out of line, because the situation was a result in part by his own stupidity.
    I've been shocked by the stupidity coming out of some of the so-called leaders in Congress especially in the last few weeks. I wonder if the world would be a better place if we all had Downs Syndrome enjoying a simpler, joyful life.
    Who's to say what sanity is when we see and hear these people speak? I've often wondered who the mentally challenged really are? I'm not throwing stones, but an genuinely wondering if our evolving society is really not a devolving society where the norm is NOT normal and the 'gifted' really are!

    October 19, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. Hugh Harvey

    I'm from Texas also, I'm ashamed that he and Ted Cruz are from this state. They are both an embarrassment.

    October 19, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  7. BadDog91748

    The Congressman should not apologize. The squirrel chaser (aka ranger) is using the defense of "just following orders," which availed those who used it precious little at Nuremburg.

    October 19, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  8. sandvichmancer

    He then immediately issued a statement to his local Tea Party master that he had his fingers crossed the whole time he was writing the letter, and that possession from Obama afflicted him as to comply with the liberal media.
    With the blood sacrifice of a goat and a newborn saved from abortion, he was forgiven and the challenger in his primary was sent back to the pit.

    October 19, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  9. Jasmine Lindros

    "The Park Service should be ashamed of themselves"? Seriously? You cut their financial legs out from under them, and then berate them for closing the properties they no longer have the money to maintain? That's a d-bag move, Congressman, lets see how long YOU keep working after we cut off your pay, hmmmm?

    October 19, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  10. jordan

    If he was so concerned about veterans being let in He and his buddies should not have caused the shutdown. Is that simple enough for them? He should have yelled at himself and his colleagues, the ones that were to blame.

    October 19, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  11. hmmm

    What she should have said at the time is "No, YOU should be ashamed".

    October 19, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  12. S. Bradley

    This is another reason why public servants (civil service) has a bad reputation with the general public. Our government leaders should learn to respect public servants as fellow govt. workers and stop using them as scape goats to get the public and media attention off the real problem.. Themselves. Remember this saying. "A fish stinks from the head back"

    October 19, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  13. MarkInChiTown

    Let me understand this... a REPUBLICAN lawmaker was criticizing a Park Ranger because she was advising veterans
    that the memorial was shut down???... a REPUBLICAN???... Are you kidding me???... You must have gotten that wrong..
    I don't know Neugebauer, but he must be a Democrat... because even REPUBLICANS aren't THAT STUPID!!!... Oh wait... never mind...

    October 19, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  14. Loathstheright

    "apologizes for scolding Park Service ranger", no, actually the people who voted this lowlife in need to apologize to the country for being so ignorant.

    October 19, 2013 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  15. ephemeroptera1

    Maybe next time he can harass a soup kitchen worker when they cannot feed the homeless because the federal government stopped providing money to them. I hope the voters of his district send him packing, but I doubt it.

    October 19, 2013 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    If Mr Neugebauer worked half as hard and half as diligently as the Ranger, he may actually earn a portion of his salary.

    October 19, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  17. LindaT

    Good Grief! Has nobody ever gotten mad and said something stupid? I know I have. While I personally know nothing about this Congressman, I do know that people say dumb things all the time. From the story it sounds like he realized right away that this was not a good idea and reached out immediately to remedy. Let's move on.

    October 19, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  18. Tom 118

    I get the feeling that the "apology" was the result of the camera's being at the scene. I'm convinced that Mr. Neugebauer throws his weight around on a regular basis.

    October 19, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  19. ejohn

    Jim Mclaughlin, the nonprofit’s board chairman, said the Honor Flight Network has received permits from the National Park Service to visit and has carried on as planned.
    All vets were able to visit the monument.

    “The park service has been wonderful with us,” Mclaughlin said.

    October 19, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  20. annieball62

    he put his foot in his mouth and it will be in there forever, can't erase what was on video.

    October 19, 2013 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  21. annieball62

    he put his foot in mouth and it will be on tape forever. when are they going to figure out it was the Rep. fault everything was shut down in the first place, he should be apologizing to the ranger and everyone waiting in line

    October 19, 2013 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  22. tstorm92

    Republcans are just "ugly". They look down on everyone else. Conservaitves think they're better than anyone else when in reality Republicans are what most bully's really are.... "cowards"!

    October 19, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  23. tstorm92

    Republicans are just plain "ugly" human beings. The GOP shuts down our government then criticizes the very emplyees who are being hurt by their attempts to overhtrow our government. Conservatives are what most bully's really are in life..... "cowards"!

    October 19, 2013 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  24. Jason

    The Congressman was correct in his actions I would have done the same thing.

    October 19, 2013 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  25. Nick

    "Gestapo tactics"!? Like a security guard telling people, 'I am terribly sorry, but the library is closed.'

    I am sure that eeeeevil Parks Service ranger enjoyed denying everyone access to the site. *Not being paid* but working anyway... Having no choice but to personally endure the consequences of a giant political theatrical play... Facing a crowd of hundreds of angry people... What better way for someone to get a 'power rush!'

    The ranger did not raise her voice and appeared completely calm, professional and respectful to the man.
    Hell, that lady could be a life-long Republican who personally agrees with Neugebauer's political views for all he knows.

    October 19, 2013 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
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