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. calvin

    What a supreme idiot ! HE had direct involvement in the shutdown, HE shut down the memorial, and then he's yelling at a Park Ranger for following government orders that HE had a part in doing ??? Simply amazing, Mr Neugebauer. I actually saw this on the news where someone taped him doing that. I don't blame the Ranger for not wanting to get a direct apology, I wouldn't want to see his sorry face either. Moron !

    October 18, 2013 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  2. unretired05

    A Congressman from Texas blaming a ranger after he voted for the shutdown. I'll believe it.

    October 18, 2013 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  3. rtkmd

    Yes, the Congressman should be ashamed of himself, and apparently he is.

    October 18, 2013 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  4. Jack

    Apology accepted! Learn from it!

    October 18, 2013 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  5. unretired05

    Then he even voted to continue the shutdown, sweet.

    October 18, 2013 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  6. Jeff

    Yeah, He already got the sound bite he was interested in. This guy is just a slime ball. He doesn't care about the American People he only cared about his self, why do you think he was there, why did he apologize, to get the sound bite. They were just preying on the Vets, And everyone but the lame republicans knows it, they weren't fooling anyone, they were the ones that were shutting down the government. They were and are a disgrace to their country, and should do us all a favor and not run again. We want our 24 billion back...Wait till they try to take that out of social security.

    October 18, 2013 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  7. Arnie the K

    It's incredible tha this Congressman chose to attact this innocent park ranger while taking no responsibility for the government shutdown he and his congressional colleagues caused. He is nothing but a grandstanding bully and a coward. When confronted by the furloghed federal employee with the bicycle helmet, he turned his back and walked away with no response. He should extend his apology to all Americans who were hurt by the senseless government shutdown rather apologizing for his "tone".

    October 18, 2013 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  8. jackcoll

    He is certainly old enough to know better and keep his emotions under control. I spent a good part of my high school teaching years correcting this type of behavior among adolescents. Perhaps his time would have been better utilized doing his job to get the memorial open again. Let us hope he has learned more than one lesson.

    October 18, 2013 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  9. Morgan

    Good ol' Rep. Randy is part of the reason this even HAPPENED.

    October 18, 2013 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  10. Incredulous45

    I feel that this public snit fit should be followed by a public apology to the nation, not a letter to the Park Service.

    October 18, 2013 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  11. Nat J

    Lame attempt to walk the dog back, and way too late. His heartfelt apology (yeah, right) should have come the same day he was caught grandstanding. Shameless hypocrite.

    October 18, 2013 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  12. Arthur Treacher

    He's only sorry because it was caught on tape and he's been ridiculed by the left and the right for his hypocrisy.

    October 18, 2013 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  13. r p

    her response should of been "its your fault"

    October 18, 2013 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  14. American

    The Parks Ranger should have replied, "No YOU should be ashamed." The sheer awesomeness of the timing and the symbolism would have made his head explode.It would have been great TV.

    October 18, 2013 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  15. kephart

    This is outrageous. A GOP Congressman who is responsible for closing down the monument in the first place is attacking a ranger who was just doing her job.

    October 18, 2013 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  16. Kahuna

    It sounds to me a lot like the pot calling the kettle black. The park ranger was just doing what she was told to do. If the congressman wanted to go off on someone he should of called the head of the park rangers, gone over to the White House and told someone there, or better yet looked at himself in a mirror. I was glad to see that the park ranger had enough manners to treat the Congressman with respect, not that he deserved it, which is not the way she was treated. Don't get me wrong, the barriers should not of been placed there in the first place, but the park ranger was the last person to criticize. Our government as a whole should be ashamed of themselves for the way the veterans were treated. If it wasn't for them we would not have a government to screw up in the first place. There were cameras rolling and the congressman seized the moment for a photo op. That's what politicians do.

    October 18, 2013 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  17. TM

    The Congressman should apologize to the Ranger in the same way he chose to arrogantly, and ignorantly, scolded her, PUBLICLY and with cameras and microphones running. The Ranger, of course, is free to attend or decline at her own discretion. She did not ask to be part of the Congressman's original, pandering, tirade, and she should not be required to take any further part in this sorry chapter of political theatre.

    October 18, 2013 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  18. rebelblue

    The politicians, especially this one, are the folks who should be ashamed. They failed to do their jobs in a timely manner, thus causing the shut down. Verbally rebuking a federal employee for doing the job that politicians failure imposed upon that employee is unprofessional at the very least. This park employee was doing what the politicians had ordered, albeit inadvertently, by NOT making decisions and passing a balanced budget, by NOT finding ways to compromise with others who views differ from their own. They acted in their own best interest, that of their political party, and NOT the best interest of the country as a whole. It can be compared to a CEO who fails to make a decision on how a company will be run, then hounding those employees left to deal with the fall out. If this is the kind of leader the average politician has become, I feel very sad for our country.

    October 18, 2013 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  19. Winston Smith

    Too little, too late. Should have used the head instead of the mouth.

    October 19, 2013 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  20. john o'halloran

    Not a headline I expected to see. Good to see a congressman who at least in retrospect did the right thing.

    October 19, 2013 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  21. Thomas

    It's good to see a person admit when they are wrong . makes it easy to forgive .

    An Apology is an act of grace .

    October 19, 2013 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  22. Roman

    He remains garbage to me. This kind of person should not represent people. They act like our lord and masters. They are our servants. Remember to VOTE this kind of trash out pof office.

    October 19, 2013 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  23. Redcedar

    He's a Republican complaining about having shut down the government? Must have short term memory loss.

    October 19, 2013 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  24. JR

    It's funny how quick politicians come back to apologize once they figure out just how much damage their stupidity and ignorance has caused. Their genuineness is obviously fake.

    October 19, 2013 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  25. Anonymous

    I think he's lying. I think he did it to boost his status with tthe tea party. Then after all the negitve fall-out, he he saw the light. Now, he's just trying to hang onto whatever status he thought he had. He didn't come off as a very rational, compassionite public servant to me

    October 19, 2013 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
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