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. Basil

    So he is only apologizing for his tone and not his actions? He is apologizing because his actions didn't properly reflect his feelings toward the Parks Service? How about apologizing for creating that whole mess and situation in the first place by shutting down the government? How about starting there?

    October 20, 2013 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  2. walbur

    I hope that the people of this nation realize that everyone in Texas is not as stupid as most of are elected leaders are.

    October 20, 2013 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  3. Matt Sartore

    I find it ironic that the "Greatest Generation" walked into the fire of enemy guns -under orders- yet, others are criticized for following their orders.

    October 20, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  4. Greg

    Rep. Randy Neugebauer was being critical of a park employee doing his assigned job. To be critical of that person and at then voting to continue the shut down is totally hypocritical. Not unlike Senator Cruz who was greeting veterans at the memorial the day after the shut down ended and the day after the senator had voted to continue the shut down.

    October 20, 2013 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  5. 433 mike

    She was doing her job and probably no getting paid. Neugebauer was getting paid for doing nothing. What is wrong with this picture.

    October 20, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  6. james

    This is nothing more than damage control.
    He thought he had an opportunity to stick it to the demis while using veterns and the right wing created shutdown to blame the dems for everything...problem is that the public realized how ridiculous it was for him to blame anyone other than his own party.

    A classless tea party lacky

    October 20, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  7. Scratchee

    Bob Warner – "The congressman's actions are illustrative of the modern conservative worldview...They shutdown the government but expect the services that the government provides to continue unabated. "

    The WWII memorial drew the attention that it did because the concept of being "closed" really doesn't make any sense. There are no fences, no gates, no tickets, and no guards. It's an open air monument that is a part of the National Mall. Putting up barriers and posting guards cost more tax money than just leaving it in its normal, accessible state. Liberals and conservatives alike should ask themselves why this was done. Have you?

    October 20, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  8. juanturnbeau

    Too bad the camera was there. I'm sure the arrogant texan congressman would have denied the encounter if it wasn't.

    October 20, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  9. David Blair

    Another typical "Cruz" anal orifice politician.

    October 20, 2013 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  10. bob

    Retired bureaucrat Baloney After the crummy politician uses you for his polit ical ploy, he comes in t eh back door and apologizes, Been on the receiving end of this kind of crap

    October 20, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  11. larry

    Why ? these rangers are nothing more than Obama's Nazi's.

    October 20, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  12. larper2

    He was one of them who shut down the Government. He staged this like the other GOP Trying to make the Dems look bad.

    October 20, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  13. ken

    The puke needs to get caught up in a bull run.

    October 20, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  14. mike

    you got that exactly right Bob Warner.

    October 20, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  15. Donnie the Lion

    Like school in class.

    October 20, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  16. Jacq

    Here's the thing republicans see only one type of veteran, you never see them step up for veterans of color. They look at them like their death wasn't enough, as a vet I was responsible for all my troops no matter what their color why Republicans don't do the same for vets?

    October 20, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  17. truebob

    Every time I see the words GOP and Texas in an article, I know it is going to be an embarrassment. I'm sick of the "do anything, no matter how disgusting, to get in the media" these sad people have adopted.

    October 20, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  18. Lovid

    GOP say the government is too big. It was they that shut the government down. Then he discover this is how a scalled down government look like and it affects every one including Vets!!!
    The ranger is serving her country and is as important as the vets who have served! He clearly Prefered the vets over the ranger! Typical GOP mindset. It is him who should be ashemef for closing the government down not the ranger who was simply excutting what he started in incongress!!

    October 20, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  19. John S.

    He does not regret a thing. Political grand-standing is about making 'impact' at the moment when 'political theater' can be seen to be greatest. That moment has past. Now he apologizes after the 'political theater' is over.

    The ranger should not accept the apology and then move on.....

    October 20, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  20. Bob

    Yet another loon sent to DC by the people of Texas. I'm a native and have lived here almost all my life but we will soon be moving to a state that sends people to public office who actually engage their brains before speaking in public.

    October 20, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  21. Michele

    The fright wing rarely apologizes or even takes responsibility for its horrendous actions. I give Rep. Randy Neugebauer full marks for civility and for manning up and admitting he was wrong to abuse someone doing the job she was (not being) paid for. Sir you are a rare commodity today – a civil Republican. Thank you. Please try to spread the disease amongst your fellow party members.

    October 20, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  22. Sick of fake patriots

    He would not have apologized if the shutdown fight had gone his way. That person who called him on his hypocrisy was spot on and unafraid and Neugebauer ran off like scalded alley cat because he was confronted by a real american with a brain and some balls who was not restricted to be polite to him because he was in uniform like the ranger. (He KNEW that the next thing that man was going to say to him was "You are still getting paid, right?!). He is an opportunist looking for a photo op at the expense of that ranger and instead it blew up in his face like Romney's tactics in the election. He only apologized because repubs have LOST this fight over the Affordable Care Act as they lost the election, as they lost the immigration debate as they lost the moral high ground (if they ever had it and I certainly think they DID NOT!) as they LOST THEIR MINDS when the President was re-elected. So now they are now doing anything they can to bully they way through any positive thing the President does. Is our President perfect, no (who is?). Is the Affordable Care Act having trouble in its roll-out, yes (ever heard of birth-pains) But Neugebauer's apology is too late. We know you for what you are now, sir. That ranger was a cool customer then and now for saying calmly that she was not ashamed at the time and for saying that she will remain anonymous and that he should apologize to the the Park Service and not her. He apologized because after losing this fight the repub powers the the told him told him to in order to save face (FAIL on that, by the way).

    October 20, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  23. Andrew

    Republicans are not good people.

    October 20, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  24. Pamela

    They want limited government by slash and burn policies, but NEVER unanimously vote for Term Limits similar to presidency limits. The Citizens of the USA should be very concerned about the destructive behavior of the Republicans on the country. The REPUBLICANS cost the USA a great deal of money due to their insistence on a SHUTDOWN. They don't want to pay the government bills due or allow average Americans to pay their bills. I guess default is their objective and economic turmoil. The people who get caught in the cross hairs are every day people trying to support their families. The Republicans only care about themselves and making sure they are living fine and mighty off of government welfare. They also have a nice health insurance plan to boot which is footed by taxpayers.

    October 20, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. Pamela

    Since the TEA PARTY wields so much power, they should be able to form their own PARTY separate from the Republican Party. Otherwise, the Republicans will face the scorn of many average everyday Americans in future elections. Yes, the people do have the power to vote these imbeciles out of office. There are many Republicans who have switched parties or vote for other candidates who are not Republican. Texas has many average everyday Americans trying their best to take care of their families. The State of Texas has created many jobs, but a quite a few of those jobs are low paying without health insurance or health insurance that is not affordable. People better start waking up because the Federal government allots money to the states for many programs that benefit the people.

    October 20, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
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