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. Steve In SD

    'Now that the cameras aren't rolling, I'll behave civilly.'
    Republicans try to defund the NPS. Republicans succeed in defunding the NPS. Republicans shamelessly scold the NPS for being in the situation forced on them by...Republicans.
    Oh, the hypocrisy.

    October 19, 2013 12:43 am at 12:43 am |

    I don't for a minute believe that he is sincere in his apology. His true colors came out on camera for all to see. He is yet another example of a member of congress who lets his angry emotions get in the way of calm, centered thinking. Good riddance to you sir.

    October 19, 2013 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  3. Mike

    A Texas Republican chews out a Federal employee for doing exactly what she was directed to do as a direct result of his vote, then tells her she should be ashamed! While I'm sure his outburst was carefully staged for the folks back home, next time just hold up a mirror and yell at yourself.

    October 19, 2013 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  4. Lenny Pincus

    The guy is a jerk, period.

    October 19, 2013 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  5. Roger

    I believe a persons first response is usually the most telling about the person. Now he's just tryng to hang onto his job.

    October 19, 2013 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  6. Jean Sartre

    Too little, too late, too insincere...

    October 19, 2013 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  7. Greg

    Its not the NPS ranger who should be ashamed for doing what she was told to do. Mr. Congressman, have YOU no shame?

    October 19, 2013 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  8. 54StarryNights

    I'm glad he sent a written apology. As one of the people who shut down the government, he had a lot of nerve to mouth off like that. These arrogant politicians who butt in on events for a photo-op then use them to make abusive statements make me sick.

    October 19, 2013 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  9. Steve

    Personally if some one is big enough to come back and admit they were wrong in how they handled a situation I think they should be forgiven for the heat of the moment.

    October 19, 2013 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  10. John

    sorry only after someone else informed him how sorry he SHOULD be. Pitiful.

    October 19, 2013 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  11. ThinkAgain

    Anyone else think that the TPers should all be censored and thrown out of the House for the mere fact they were all somehow surprised that the National Park Service would close the memorials when the government shut down?

    I mean, seriously, how do TPers manage to get dressed in the morning? They are one sorry group of dimwits.

    October 19, 2013 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  12. Brian

    Rep.Neugebauer, I do not believe you are sorry for your actions. I do believe that you are sorry you were caught on camera and that the recording was publicized. You come across as a classic bully attacking someone in a position where they could not fight back. Furthermore, this behavior appears to be in keeping with your past actions. Your behavior was disgraceful and you have no business being in a position of authority.

    October 19, 2013 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  13. Cynthia Avishegnath

    Certain people transfer the problems which they cause to the very people on the receiving end of those problems.
    They blame you for shutting down the govt. They blame the govt for shutting down the govt.

    October 19, 2013 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  14. Thomas

    The man is an idiot.

    October 19, 2013 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  15. Joe Plumber

    A Republican hypocrite? I am shocked. Sure Dems do it too – but the Republicants have cornered the market!

    October 19, 2013 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  16. Craig

    He's only sorry because he now realizes how completely out of line he was...and how his voters back home saw him. If he was a "leader" and responsible he never would have sought to make a show of the situation, and attacking the Ranger for doing her job is pathetic.

    October 19, 2013 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  17. Kathleen

    Rep. Neugebauer's statements to the Park Ranger were a clear reflection of his complete and total ignorance. Really... a pathetic and disingenuous apology is not making it. He lacks class on many levels. Perhaps he should attend Civics and history to start learning about Parliamentary procedure and process for the shutdown that was voted in. His behavior is what is prevalent in our elected "elite" of Washington. I want the House of Representatives to pay us our 24 billion dollars. Another representative with bad behavior., Is it any wonder we have nothing but contempt for these people?

    October 19, 2013 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  18. a voter

    The Texas Republican became and instant poster child for the cruelty that has become the soul of the Republican party as manifested through their Tea Party leaders. You can't have a soul and mind and support such irrationality. He showed us so clearly how nefarious and self centered intent parades as righteous. We have to think for ourselves. Even elected leaders can capriciously show evil and not care or think we are unable to see through it. Enough. Talk to everyone you know or are related to and throw the Tea party out in the coming election. We should all fear these people.

    October 19, 2013 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  19. Joe

    This guy is a genius. You are one of the 535 members of congress. She is not. It is 1/535 your fault. It is 0% her fault. You should be ashamed of yourself, not the Park Service.

    October 19, 2013 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  20. Chris

    I've been very frustrated, and at times upset with various Republican politicians. However, here, the Congressman has apologized, and even if some will still oppose him politically, this issue in particularly ought not to come up – he has apologized.

    Bitterness is good for no one.

    October 19, 2013 03:19 am at 3:19 am |
  21. Howard

    The ranger had a lot more class than Rep. Neugebauer did. In fact, she could've insisted he PUBLICLY apologize to her just as he publicly berated her. In fact, all Rep. Neugebauer did was demonstrate what an attention hungry jerk he was, very much resembling a common school yard bully.

    Whoa! A tea bugger behaving like a bully; now there's something new. (NOT!)

    October 19, 2013 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
  22. Mark

    The ranger was doing her job and she got scolded for it. The Congressman wasn't doing his job which was why they were in that situation in the first place.

    October 19, 2013 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  23. adsas

    Well, he owned it. That's good.

    October 19, 2013 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  24. Nancy Rudolph

    Too little, too late!

    October 19, 2013 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  25. Craig Thomas

    The truth of this whole matter is very easy to understand.....
    As a bystander to this nations political toilet bowl, I see one problem
    occuring time after time; The Republican Party and all of their supporters
    are completely blind to "Common Sense". I stopped voting years ago because
    our goverment is irrepairably broken.

    October 19, 2013 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
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