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. bellarue

    Oh please. This clown doesn't have a sincere bone in his body. He calculated his feigned outrage in order to get the full effect of his photo opp. Now, he's making his "apology", because according to his calculations, it's high time to show "respect" for government employees. Hopefully, in 2014, this guy and his teabagger cronies will be sent back to the holes they came from.

    October 18, 2013 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  2. AA

    she should've responded "Well maybe if you and your colleagues did your damn job to pass a budget the park would be opened. Don't talk about park services being ashamed when you can't even do your the job you were elected to do"

    October 18, 2013 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  3. Dan-Oh

    I can think of one group that should be ashamed, and it is not the rangers.

    October 18, 2013 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  4. carl

    OK you got your press time, now set down and shut up!!!

    October 18, 2013 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  5. Tony Torres

    Even though he sent a letter and did the correct thing, he is it a coward; I was caught in the moment, what a bunch of BS. He knew that he and his fellow GOP were the ones that caused all of this, it was all show. Coward in my book.

    October 18, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  6. Karen

    Well, the apology is a nice touch, but the park ranger had no reason to be ashamed. The shutdown was congress' fault, not the National Park Service. I realize the monument is open air, but as the recent green paint incident at the Lincoln memorial showed, security is needed to prevent vandalism. The rangers provide that and other public services.

    If anyone should have felt ashamed at the time of the confrontation it was the congressman.

    October 18, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  7. Larry L

    Another AAARepublican from Texas behaving like a radical, right-wing fool. What a shock!

    October 18, 2013 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  8. Tom

    The hypocrisy here is astounding – the man was blaming a ranger just doing her job for his own failures in paying the bills and keeping the government open. This was HIS fault, not hers.

    Sure, he's sorry now that the Republicans' plan backfired and their approval ratings plummeted but he wasn't sorry when he wasn't paying the bills and keeping vets out of the WWII memorial?

    October 18, 2013 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  9. Mayr

    then as now, it's all for publicity! It's a show! and he's a phony, trying to save his job, but too late! next election, he's outta there!!!!!!!!!

    October 18, 2013 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  10. Dave O.

    I respect this congressman less, now that he apologized. He probably meant what he said the first time. Why walk it back?

    October 18, 2013 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  11. nodat1

    some apology the windbag had big ones in front of the camera when he berated the park ranger then he has one of his flunkies send a form letter apologizing to her boss for his childish actions. Hey Rcan from Texas man up and get in front of that camera that you like so much and apologize

    October 18, 2013 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  12. Tom

    This congressman's behavior was so disgusting, particularly for a older guy. Those that say the US is going to hell in a handbasket because of Obamacare or video games or anything else should look to the people who elected this guy, and this guy himself. He is why this country is far from being the best. He is a child

    October 18, 2013 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  13. Cascade

    How amazing that he yells at a government employee when his own party shut the thing down in the first place! It's hard to beleive we have people this dumb running our country.

    October 18, 2013 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  14. larry

    He should resign!!!!!

    October 18, 2013 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  15. Michael Benjamin

    Who was responsible for shutting down the government?

    October 18, 2013 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  16. John Smith

    He would not have apologized if it was not recorded, he is just trying to save face. He has shown his true colors. The ranger was also working without pay. The Republicans are such hypocrites. The cased and treat with disrespect those who do their job.

    October 18, 2013 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  17. Duddy P

    Typical Texas Republican. Sound off at a woman for a problem that he, and his Tea Party cronies, created.
    Why do Republicans hate women?

    October 18, 2013 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  18. Recondo 6-76

    If a lock keeps honest people honest, then a camera recording makes I'll mannered folks regretful. His bullying behavior was for political points from veterans which turned out poorly, hence the apology.

    October 18, 2013 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  19. MIke G

    "I'm sorry I was recorded doing that"

    October 18, 2013 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  20. FrenchChef

    The ranger was smart not to let him get in contact with her personally. Sure, he's making nice now...

    October 18, 2013 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  21. Thomas A. Hawk

    The Ranger was following instructions originating with Congress and Rep. Neugebauer is a member of Congress.

    He was more than out of line. He participated in giving her instructions and then he berated her for obeying those instructions.

    If he didn't like the instructions his body gave her, then it was on him to get the instructions changed. How he did that was his problem. He's the one with the vote in the House. Not the park ranger.

    October 18, 2013 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  22. 22

    Too little too late.He was playing to the gallery,what he forgot to do was explain his own part in the shutdown.You can't fool us anymore GOPERS,we see right through your lies!

    October 18, 2013 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  23. JohnRJohnson

    This man is a disgrace.

    October 18, 2013 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  24. jimbo

    Another day another GOP fake apology for saying what they actually meant.

    October 18, 2013 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  25. TW

    He should be ashamed to shut down the government in the first place!

    October 18, 2013 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
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