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. ghastly

    He's sorry he got caught on camera.

    October 19, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  2. jonbme

    Park rangers were doing their jobs... while Congressmen weren't. That's the real story.

    October 19, 2013 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  3. Wes Scott

    Once again a loud-mouthed Republican has to suck it up and apologize for opening his piehole and making outrageous statements in public. This Texas Republican is a prime example of why the GOP needs to get its ashes hauled in the 2014 mid-term elections.

    October 19, 2013 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  4. Joe Rufo

    Its amazing how a politician can so quickly change his opinion when his stupidity is caught on camera.

    October 19, 2013 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  5. fibsernum

    The only reason he is sorry is that he finally realized that he had been caught on camera picking on a park employee doing her job in enforcing a shutdown that he caused. It only took him a week or so to understand how out-of-line he was and the damage to his image?
    And this kind of intellect is running our country?

    October 19, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  6. SixDegrees

    Props to Neugebauer for ultimately doing the right thing. It would have been better, of course, had he not made such remarks to begin with. But it shows some spine to admit he was wrong and apologize for it.

    October 19, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  7. Dave

    How typical for politicians, say whatever you want, direct it to whomever and only acknowledge your insensitivity when caught on tape and viewed on the news media. They need to crawl off the pedestal, crawl under it and think (if possible) before they speak..

    October 19, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  8. Jj smith

    Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me, BULL CRAP. We have become a nation of verbal bullies.

    October 19, 2013 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  9. mjbrin

    "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"

    Good for her! He needs to do it in writing! And to the whole NPS since he basically put government workers down . Good for her!

    October 19, 2013 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  10. Bubba Jones

    This government should apologize to the WWII veterans. This is an open-air memorial, why the heck was it closed down? Some folks running our government are having major stupid attacks.

    October 19, 2013 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  11. NeverTooL88

    How about the entire Republican/Tea Party apologizing to the nation for what they did?

    October 19, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  12. KJ9

    The only reason he sent the letter is he looked like a fool on TV.

    October 19, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  13. Coroner

    Do not apologize to these thugs. Did they apologize to the veterans? The preezy did everything in his power to make it hurt and should be ashamed. Anyone who voted for this interloper should be ashamed. The congressman had every right to berate the criminal actions of the park service. This officer should have been part of the shutdown. When is guarding an open air monument a government necessity?

    October 19, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  14. mattski

    You should be sorry, Mr,. Neugebauer. First you close the government, then you engage in a political stunt by humiliating a public servant who shows up for no pay to do her job enforcing the closure that you created. All in front of a camera. What a coincidence. That's really messed up.

    October 19, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  15. SoCal

    Here was a bully in action... At least he man upped and apologized.

    October 19, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  16. raul c.

    We are getting tired of many ruthless GOP House members who think they are in Congress. More likely they had no family values teached at home such as respect for others. These kinds of folks have no place in Congress.

    October 19, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  17. Hank Chase

    He SHOULD be ashamed for what he did... and for causing the shutdown ....typical Republican response, make the recording to placate his Tea Party followers, then apologize to try to win back the non-crazy voters

    October 19, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  18. S1N

    Great job, Randy! You successfully belittled a park ranger that was carrying out the duties that YOUR group (Congress) legally mandated them to do. If the National Park Service hadn't been ordered to close all of its sites (since they weren't excepted from the shutdown), then its employees wouldn't have had to block entry.

    October 19, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  19. cj

    So, he gets caught on camera being a rude, ignorant, bullying idiot. The government reopens. His party loses the political, ideological battle. He decides to say he is sorry with excuses for his stupid behavior. What a jerk and a perfect example of why Congress is so ineffective and why many will be booted out next election.

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

    Hey Texans. Remember who this loser is at election time.

    October 19, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  21. Larry282

    Typical Republican. Scream and yell before his brain connects then sees the impact on himself and decides he's sorry.

    October 19, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  22. FHBreen

    Had he done his job, she could have done hers...what a moron.

    October 19, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  23. Lando

    Neugebauer symbolizes everything that is wrong with this country. A sniveling, hypocritical, self-serving excuse for a politician. Texans must be very proud.

    October 19, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  24. pmmarion

    Neugebauer said that the ranger should be ashamed for doing her job!? Really!!! Neugebauer should be ashamed for NOT doing his.

    October 19, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  25. sparky

    Funny, when complete losers like this apologize they don't do it as vigorously as when they were running their mouths

    October 19, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
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