On October 6, I wrote a piece here about and posted the video of Rep. Randy Neugeberger (R-TX) berating a National Park Service ranger for "her" not letting people visit the World War II Memorial. Something she, obviously, had no responsibility for, and in many ways by his vote to shut down the government, he did. It was a bullying action for public attention.
Mr. Neugeberger has just sent a letter of apology to the director of the NPS. (As his notes mentions, he wanted to apologize to the ranger personally, but she wished to remain anonymous.)
Here is his letter of apology
There are definitely some issues I could make about the apology -- for starters, I don't believe what he's saying. His outburst wasn't a matter of being "caught up in the emotion." It was grandstanding for the public and trying to make a political point. And it wasn't just his "tone" that was inappropriate, but the charges he was flinging. But as far as apologies tend to go these days from public figures (usually along the lines of, "If I offended anybody..."), it was well done. He takes responsibility for his actions, actually uses the word "apology," and recognizes he caused discomfort in another. So, coming from a U.S. Congressman, I think this was in the better reaches of saying he was sorry.
And it only took him two weeks.
That's the other reason I don't believe what he's saying. He' may feel bad, but he's not sorry for what he says, he's sorry he got came under so much criticism for what he did. If there had been no video that had gone viral, is it fair to think there never would have been an apology? I think there wouldn't have been. My guess is that his office has been receiving a lot of criticism, especially from his constituents, and he and his staff discussed how to put this behind him. And so, two weeks, later, he said he was sorry. If he was actually sorry I suspect he'd have felt terrible right away and apologized immediately, most especially as the video hit. Is it possible that it simple took him this long for his regret to build? Sure, it's possible. I just don't think it's likely. He's a smart guy, he's a United States Congressman, he saw the video and the reaction, he has a staff and press experts who deal specifically with stuff like this, he knew.
It was a fairly good apology. So, he gets points for that -- even for simply making it at all. But as long as he was making an apology, he should have apologized for it taking two weeks...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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