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. merlin

    How far out of touch can these people get – the Congress is the reason the parks were closed.

    October 19, 2013 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  2. cliffintex

    The Congressman should have known better than to berate a Park Ranger – at the same time, when do you throw up your hands and say enough?

    October 19, 2013 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  3. NickAnast

    Neugebauer should be ashamed of himself.

    October 19, 2013 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  4. Bill

    Does my heart good to see the overwhelming negative GOP comments! They caused that situation, let them accept the consequences. Hope the whole bunch are looking for a job soon.

    October 19, 2013 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  5. Wingnut Tea Party is a Dud

    Any republican congressmen from Texas are losers.

    October 19, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  6. Trombonebiker

    Leave it to a Republican from Texas to act like an ass. I haven't heard of a good from there yet. It was his fault, of course, for closing it in the first place. Drop Dead, Bonehead!

    October 19, 2013 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  7. Margaret

    Interesting the congressman said the park ranger should be ashamed, well the rangers were not the ones to shut down the government, and they did not asked to be furloughed. It is the Congress that should be ashamed. How could he look the vets in the face when they were the ones who were badly affected by the lack of services. The congressmen lost nothing. The government workers may get paid after all, but a lot of people who support the government in private industry did not. The people who had scheduled vacations long before and could not get refunds for hotels, and plane tickets lost. The American people lost. And the U.S. lost prestige in the world. Look in the mirror Congressman and then say SHAME On Me!

    October 19, 2013 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  8. Jared Bradshaw

    I don't think he should have apologized. Illegal invaders flocked to the national mall while our veterans were turned away by unelected bureaucrats, while liberal leadership from Congress joined the illegals, slapping the faces of the helpless veterans standing by. When something is just so obviously and plain wrong, there is no need to be diplomatic or agreeable.

    October 19, 2013 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  9. James

    The Senator was right for scolding the Park Service–Not the ranger but the So called President. The ranger replied inappropriately also. So everyone did something wrong. Thanks to OBAMA–He's good at shifting blame however.

    October 19, 2013 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    You would never see anything like this on "Fake News" (Fair and balanced).

    October 19, 2013 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  11. OKfine

    Yes Neugebauer – You ARE sorry.

    October 19, 2013 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  12. Jim8

    He got his photo op, but it wasn't well thought out. Just like the rest of that mess.

    October 19, 2013 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  13. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    I'm sorry that he is a member of congress.

    October 19, 2013 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  14. BldrRepublican

    Bob Warner – what a load of ch it.

    It TAKES money to keep the monument "shutdown". If the government were truly "shutdown" there would be no government, and therefore no one on duty to turn people away. The fact that there WAS someone still employed even during the "shutdown" to turn people away means they could have someone still employed to allow people in.

    Use your common sense.


    October 19, 2013 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  15. CTYank

    Congressman, engage brain before putting mouth in gear. Learn to listen.

    October 19, 2013 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  16. steve

    What a class A jerk, he is the one is responsible for the shutdown, yet he screams at a civil servant just doing their job.

    The tea party is an illogical mess and a massive treat to our nation.

    October 19, 2013 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  17. Marc

    I think that's an excellent observation Bob Warner ... I have a few modern conservative coworkers who seem to think the same thing. Want the conveniences and benefits their government provide, angry when they're not available ... outraged they have to pay for them.

    October 19, 2013 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  18. Bubba

    So a Texas Republican apologized, and the world did not end. Makes one question reality.
    The fact that he said something requiring an apology makes him a Republican, but the fact that he actually apologized makes him a Democrat.

    October 19, 2013 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    @Bob Warner: Thank you for your post – and I just hope enough people have finally got it through their heads that repub and tea bags do NOT make for beneficial public servants. They haven't a CLUE about how to take care of our country or keep us moving forward.

    October 20, 2013 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  20. my10cents

    Berate the poor person whom they put in that untenable situation but when the storm turns back on them perform a very poor mea culpa to make it all better. Modern conservative hypocrisy at its finest.

    October 20, 2013 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  21. bp

    Neugebauer apologized? That's clear sign that he's insufficiently conservative and a RINO! Watch the Ted Cruz example – being a hero of the lunatic Tea Party means never saying you're sorry or admitting any mistakes.

    October 20, 2013 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  22. Carol Peterson

    I think the Republican Congressman was seizing on any opportunity to try to make the Obama Administration look bad.. However, his plan backfired and he's the one that looks bad.

    October 20, 2013 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  23. Josue

    What made this "servant" of the people think that he is so high and almighty behaving this way?

    October 20, 2013 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  24. Dixie Independent voter

    It is laughingly ironic that a member of the GOP should berate anyone but himself for the shut down 'shut out.'

    October 20, 2013 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  25. MK Keen

    Rep. Randy Neugebauer: PUTZ.

    October 20, 2013 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
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