Texas Republican Congressman Randy Neugebauer grabbed some viral attention Thursday after confronting a park ranger at the World War II Memorial in Washington, asking her how she could deny veterans access to the memorial and telling her that the National Park Service “should be ashamed” of its actions this week.
Surrounded by media, Rep. Neugebauer confronted the ranger: “How do you look at at [veterans] and say— how do you deny them access? I don’t get that,” he said.
“It’s difficult,” the ranger responded. “It is difficult. I’m sorry, sir.”
“It should be difficult,” Neugebauer shot back. “The Park Service ought to be ashamed of themselves.” When the ranger responded that she wasn’t ashamed of doing her job, the congressman added, “Well, you should be.”
In my opinion, it’s Rep. Neugebauer who ought to be ashamed of himself.
Publicly berating a Park Service employee for something she has zero control over is not only irresponsible, but also downright mean-spirited. The debate on Capitol Hill over this government shutdown is a fight between politicians and the decision to close the memorials came from the White House. It’s unfortunate that honest public servants just trying to do their jobs are being caught in the middle of it all.
It’s easy to bemoan the fact that the government is ineffective, inefficient, oversized, etc. It’s easy for us to complain about how the National Park Service is trying to keep veterans out of their memorial, but none of this is the ranger’s fault. If Neugebauer has a complaint, he should take it up the chain of command to her supervisors and their bosses. Otherwise, he just looks like a big bully trolling for an easy fight.