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. Jim Adams

    These republican representatives have a lot more apologizing to do for what they have done to America.

    October 18, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  2. mark

    he's still a pos for doing that. he owes every furloughed worker an apology for his boorish behavior.

    October 18, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    No apology called for. The administration was totally in the wrong, and the park rangers should have refused to obey those orders. They have a responsibility to the people, as much as to the politicians.

    October 18, 2013 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  4. Doctor Fine

    When this Republican told the lady Ranger to she should be ashamed for doing her job she looked him dead in the eye and said "you should be ashamed for NOT doing YOUR job!"

    It was the Republicans who shut down the government by refusing to finish a budget this year. They STILL haven't finished one.

    Boo Republicans. All ways hypocrites lately. I am ashamed to even BE a Republican...

    October 18, 2013 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  5. creedwait

    This jerk was berating a woman. Your article leaves out the fact that the moment a male responded to him he ran away like a scared rabbit. I do not live in his district, but I will donate money to any Republican that opposes him in the primaries. If he makes it past the primaries I will donate to any Democrat opposing him in the general election.

    October 18, 2013 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  6. Carl Hudson

    I saw the initial recording of this incident and was outraged by the comments of the congressman. Apparently, he was unaware that his voting for the shutdown had caused the closure and turned right around and berated the park ranger for enforcing it. I suppose his apology is a positive, but I suspect somebody smarter than the congressman (most of the nation) probably told him he acted like a buffoon and he needed to apologize.

    October 18, 2013 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Why should the park ranger be ashamed? Randy n. Should be the one who is ashamed.

    October 18, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  8. Diaz

    He apologized for saying that?
    She SHOULD have been ashamed.
    But she was right to have told him to not address her, and to address the NPS itself.

    October 18, 2013 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  9. rplat

    Nonsense. The "ranger" was a government operative and he deserved the "scolding".

    October 18, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  10. rosethornne

    ...and still he simply does not comprehend that the Parks were closed because HE VOTED TO CLOSE THEM when he voted to shut down the government.

    He is not an innocent bystander caught up in his emotions, he is the perpetrator.

    October 18, 2013 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  11. Brandon

    I'm sorry, but people are insane to believe the Tea Party rhetoric! Republicans keep talking about the huge number of lazy, overpaid government workers draining our coffers for unnecessary things, but a huge percentage of our 3.45 million government supported workers come from the following groups: Dept of Defense Active service military (40% or 1,400,000), Dept of Defense defense contractors (23% 800,000), Dept of Veteran affairs (10% or 332,000), Dept of Homeland Security (7% or 231,000), and the Dept of Justice (3.5% or 114,000). Amazingly, the folks in the previously listed groups mostly identify as republicans or independent conservatives (only 14% of military identify as Democrats), so it is republicans costing the government by a huge majority. That leaves us a paltry 570,000 workers (many of which are, of course, republicans) to support a gigantic population of 314,000,000 for all the myriad services that keep our civilization together! And most of these people are paid much less than the private sector when you compare cohorts of similar education and background. They serve us because they want to give back to America. Tea Party pilferers like Randy Neugebauer are clearly insane. This man is a terrible person and a coward to do this to a simple park service ranger. So many of these crazies come out of Texas, I really wish we would let that place secede from the union. It is an ugly state too. If you want to see the beauty of the west, just pass through Texas as quickly as possible. Or fly over it.

    October 18, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  12. Stephen Jones

    A day late and a dollar short.

    October 18, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  13. truth is

    typical GOP bully....what a surprise and no wonder nothing ever gets done. All these idiots do is grandstand for the cameras, but when it comes to getting actual work done, the guy pumping gas down the street has more common sense.

    October 18, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  14. Joan

    Please do not run for office again.... Please!

    October 18, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  15. Denny

    I think the congressman should ashamed.

    October 18, 2013 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  16. keithdb80

    How quaint. A bully comes clean. I'd say I'm impressed but he was supposed to be a grown up before he got into Congress.

    October 18, 2013 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  17. dee3

    what a moron

    October 18, 2013 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  18. AA

    So let me get this straight.... this congressman was part of the party responsible for the shut down, and then berates someone who was FORCED shut down the park due to furlough? Why the hell is he still in office?

    October 18, 2013 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  19. KH

    Real classy. He chews out a park employee, not being paid but still on the job, for enforcing a park shutdown that his party caused. Good that he is apologizing. Glad to see that.

    October 18, 2013 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    How mealy. ""I regret how I handled that situation, and I would like to offer you my apologies," he added."

    How about saying you ARE sorry, not "here are my apologies..." The TP are so fake.

    October 18, 2013 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  21. BB

    Astonishing chutzpah! The Republican Party forces a government shutdown then one of their minions hypocritically yells at a federal employee for trying to enforce the shutdown. I give the Park Ranger a lot of credit for keeping her cool and not wanting to further engage with this embarrassment for an elected official.

    October 18, 2013 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  22. Liz

    Parks wouldn't of been closed if the GOP hadn't of shut down government. THey created the shut down..just saying..I mean you know they create the mess then protest the mess..thats kinda messed up. Just saying.

    October 18, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  23. Seabass

    I used to live in Randy's district. He's a jackwagon of the highest order. His party shuts down the govt. then he roams around criticizing someone for doing her job while he's NOT doing his. He, like Ted Cruz bring nothing but shame to the great state of Texas. Sorry America, we aren't all fools in Texas. We just seem to elect them time after time.

    October 18, 2013 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  24. SK-B

    He seems to treat himself with great dignity in his letter of apology. From the CNN report, it appears that nowhere in his letter does he say that he is ashamed of himself.

    October 18, 2013 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  25. Brandon

    Caught up in emotion? More like grandstanding.

    October 18, 2013 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
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