Update: Vice President Joe Biden called the park ranger who was berated by Rep. Neugebauer to tell her "I'm proud of you."
NBC News' Washington affiliate caught an exchange at the World War II Memorial as Rep. Randy Neugebauer's (R-TX) on Wednesday confronted an innocent park ranger who was doing nothing more than her job. Neugebauer blamed her for the closure that he voted for and told her that she should be ashamed of herself.
"How do you look at them and ... deny them access?" said Neugebauer. He, with most House Republicans, had voted early Sunday morning to pass a funding measure that would delay the Affordable Care Act, a vote that set up a showdown with the Senate and President Barack Obama. With the parties unable to agree on how to fund the federal government, non-essential government functions shut down Tuesday.
"It's difficult," responded the Park Service employee.
"Well, it should be difficult," replied the congressman, who was carrying a small American flag in his breast pocket.
"It is difficult," responded the Park Service employee. "I'm sorry, sir."
"The Park Service should be ashamed of themselves," the congressman said.
"I'm not ashamed," replied the ranger.
At this point, "a crowd of onlookers got involved," and began loudly demanding that Neugebauer leave the innocent park ranger alone, pointing out that the reason everyone was in the spot they were in was because Congress put them there.
"This woman is doing her job, just like me," shouted another. "I'm a 30-year federal veteran -- I'm out of work."
Neugebauer countered that it was all really Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) fault, before he and his pocket flag slinked away amidst still angry, shouting people.
Actually, the park rangers were at the World War II Memorial -- not only to enforce the closure of the memorial to the general public -- but also to make sure that the Honor Flight veterans are able access to the site. So, by interfering with the ranger's job, Neugebauer himself was impeding access for the Honor Flight veterans.
Kudos to the park ranger who stood her ground and conducted herself with professionalism, even in the face of a complete buffoon.