GOP congressman apologizes for scolding Park Service ranger
October 18th, 2013
06:43 PM ET
9 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.

RNC offers to pay for WWII memorial guards

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. betty

    How can the republicans get angry about the government shutdown when they are directly responsible for it?

    October 20, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. Jeb

    This GOP Congressman voted to shut down the United States Government and then had the nerve to complain that the National Parks were closed?

    Just another daily illustration of how rabid and insane the GOP has become.

    October 20, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. wotudezerv

    Neugebauer only apologizes due to negative publicity. He berated a worker for obeying the law. He was urging breaking the law and as a congressman that is something to be ashamed of. He knew better and he should know better.

    He is a typical gop demagogue and no apology changes that. shame on him. no apology accepted.

    October 20, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. Liz the First

    I hope that the people of this nation realize that everyone in Texas is not as stupid as most of are elected leaders are"

    Well, Walbur, if this is true, how are these stupid people getting elected? smart people don't generally vote for stupid people, they vote for Democrats.

    October 20, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  5. Idiotwind

    Neugebauer exemplifies all that is wrong with the Tea Party, shoot first and ask questions later.

    October 20, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  6. Bill

    Maybe we should have an IQ test that anyone running for Congress must pass. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, a Texas Republican, is the classic example of what is wrong with the GOP. He seems so out of touch with reality.

    October 20, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  7. Gary

    I agree with Sick of Fake patriots.

    I think had the shutdown went the way the GOP wanted this congressman wouldn't have said a word. I refuse to give him credit for the apology because he shouldn't have spouted off and disrespected the ranger in the first place.

    She could have arrested him for trespassing. Her civility and understand is something to be applauded, not the congressmen who sticks his foot in his mouth.

    October 20, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. Pamela

    Texas and Kansas are a Tea Party hotbed.

    October 20, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. Pamela

    We the People seek term limits for congressional members. They are turn a blind eye to our request for term limits when it concerns their nice benefits from the taxpayers of the United States.

    October 20, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. Al

    So this Texan is saying that it's acceptable to keep the people for whom the Memorial was built for out, and even if it cost more to keep them out than to allow them access to their memorial.

    Somewhere down the way, the government made a very bad left turn and believes that it's the all mighty and that it can't do no wrong. I would not ever see an acceptable excuse to keep the reason for a memorial out and accept that the VP phrases the actions of keeping WWII vets out, or apologizing to a ranger for speaking my mind about their inconsideration that this might be the last year that they may get to see and touch what was erected for them. I do hope that all that opposed the remaining vets from visiting their memorial are proud of what they did.

    October 20, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. GarryOwen27

    Typical of the Red Neck Right, shut down the government and then blame someone else, invade not one but two countries with no plan and no way to pay and blame the deficit on someone else, destroy the economy and blame someone else.

    October 20, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. Tutt

    Let me get this straight . . . an elected politician admitted in writing to angrily insulting a federal government employee doing their job – without pay – because of the government shutdown by stating he " was caught up" in emotion over the effects of the government shutting down – a deplorable unnecessary action he and his fellow party members are directly responsible for creating out of jealousy, revenge and childish selfish irresponsibility to the country and voters. How disgustingly unlife-like. Steugebarger and all other Congress-members are elected by voters to serve this country as a voice of the people – and we have a right to demand those elected be held to the highest standards of integrity, professionalism, competence and leadership. For Steugebarger to excuse his inappropriate public behavior on personal "emotion" with full knowledge that he was partly to blame for the situation is some new kind of lower than low. Politicians orchestrating or participating in selfish destructive agendas ahead of the interests of this country should be judged unfit and held accountable by the people for incompetence and gross lack of leadership.

    In my view this "apology" is unacceptable on every level.

    October 20, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. libsarenotsmart

    "I will not negotiate" -Barrack Obama

    This was his shutdown and his alone. He thinks he's a dictator and can extort the American people for his extremist agenda.

    October 20, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. libsarenotsmart

    My goodness...reading some of these extreme-liberal comments lets me know that our country will never be as prosperous tomorrow as it is today. Obama decided to shut down the national parks!! Not republicans, not Harry Reid, but Barack himself. HE manufactured this crisis because he knew CNN and others would blame republicans for him and ensure the sheep would continue to follow. HE extorted the American people to support his extreme agenda and HIS failing health insurance mandate!! You people make me sick.

    October 20, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. Mike the Veteran

    What's the use of apologizing. Nice that he did but still does not do much for the park ranger that was just trying to do their job. Rep was just trying to make a scene and as others have commented; if GOP had won, he never would have apologized.

    October 20, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. heebeejeebee

    Surprise. Another member of Texas congressional delegation who acted like a jerk.

    October 20, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. rl

    Did he mention that really one of the people he should be berating is himself. This for being one of the gop that sent into motion the Government shutdown and the closing of all of our parks along with many other essentials. That he was one of those who wanted to stop benefits from reaching the wounded troops, and many other needed services. Did he mention that their shutdown actually cost the country about 24 billion dollars. Finally did he mention that he still got his full paycheck although a lot of government employees (who make lot less than him) did not.

    October 20, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. DroneAlone

    Wow, could you imagine if Obama, Pelosi, Biden or Feinstein took responsibility for their actions or the bizarre ignorant stuff that they say???

    October 20, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  19. HFM17

    this clown, like most of Congress, is an egotistical opportunistic putz...who seems to forget that no Congressman nor senator has any legal authority over anyone in the United States of America,,,,

    October 20, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. walter wood

    Wow! Have these mighty Repubs fallen.I just hoe the American people get it and elect better representatives.

    October 20, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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