Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, congressional Democrats to commemorate Mandela in South Africa
December 8th, 2013
07:16 PM ET
10 months ago

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, congressional Democrats to commemorate Mandela in South Africa

Updated 9:32 a.m. ET, 12/9/2013

(CNN) – More than 20 members of the U.S. House, mostly Democrats, and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz will travel to South Africa to honor and commemorate former South African president and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela.

House Speaker John Boehner tapped Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Illinois, to lead the official delegation of House members to South Africa for Tuesday's service. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including Chairwoman Marcia Fudge, will join the official congressional delegation.

The group of 23 members of the House of Representatives and Senate will leave early Monday morning for the service Tuesday in Johannesburg at FNB Stadium.

Political world reacts to Nelson Mandela death

Here's a list, which is subject to change, of the other U.S. lawmakers who will join the delegation, according to a senior Democratic aide:

Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan; Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York; Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia; Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Washington; Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Democratic delegate from D.C.; Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California; Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Virginia; Rep. Melvin Watt, D-North Carolina; Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas; Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland; Rep. Donna Christensen, Democratic delegate from the Virgin Islands; Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-New York; Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California; Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-North Carolina; Rep. Al Green, D-Texas; Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wisconsin; Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-New York; Rep. Karen Bass, D-California; Rep. Terri Sewell D-Alabama; and Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio.

Cruz will join the delegation despite intense criticism of Mandela from some of his supporters responding to a respectful tribute the Texas Republican issued after the leader died Thursday.

Left and right use Mandela's death as opportunity to bash their favorite bogeymen

The ceremony is expected to draw numerous world leaders and more than fill the 95,000-capacity stadium.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, as well as Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, will travel to South Africa to pay tribute to the late leader. A total of 70 heads of state and 10 former heads of state are expected to honor the iconic peacemaker in Johannesburg. A state funeral will be held December 15 in Mandela's ancestral hometown of Qunu in the Eastern Cape province.

Upon receiving the honor, Schock said: "I have always had great respect for former president Mandela. The personal sacrifices he made in order to achieve what was right for the people of South Africa is something I carry with me every day. I am humbled to be leading so many of my colleagues in tribute to Nelson Mandela."

CNN Senior Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh and CNN's Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Blinded by the republican lie

    The republicans need to keep their butts home because we all know how they really feel...Just look at the backlash Cruz worshippers are reacting...The real truth about his base.

    December 8, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  2. Tampa Tim

    As long as Bachmann, Gomert, and King stay home, there are enough sane people in the delegation to make sure Cruz doesn't create an international incident.

    December 8, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  3. ST

    Cruz can't refuse to go despite criticism from his fans. That will be his first foreign affairs credential. That woman from Alaska got hers for the first time when she went to Israel, though didn't help her in her efforts to become one of the leaders.

    December 8, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  4. Gurgyl

    I don't know with whose money these guys are going overseas? They need to stop this bull. Save the nation's treasury.

    December 8, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  5. len

    Cruz...what a hypocrit.

    December 8, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  6. art

    Ironic, NO GOPTP leaders are going...IT SAYS ALOT ABOUT WHO THE GOPTP truly are and what they represent!

    December 8, 2013 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  7. Former republican, now an independent

    I certainly hope all of these congressmen are traveling on their own money! The American Taxpayer should only be paying for the president or vice president to represent the U.S. People like Ted Cruz, who never even knew Mandela is only going as a political stunt to get his name in the press in case he makes a 2016 presidential run. A complete and total waste of taxpayer dollars!

    December 8, 2013 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  8. Woman In California

    As much as I want to say something about Cruz attending, I will hold my comment for now out of my respect for the deceased and the beautiful people of South Africa. After the funeral, I'll revisit this subject and Cruz.

    December 8, 2013 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  9. Sheila

    I'm actually shocked that Ted Cruz is doing what he is doing, and saying, especially after slamming practically every one else, for one reason or another...

    December 9, 2013 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  10. Name Uche Agonsi

    We in Africa should be humbled by the unequaled presence of such collection of world dignitaries gracing the occasion. It should be as historic as is challenging. The Mandela's Cross/banner will inspire a turning point for both Africa and world political venture....but less we forget, and contray to the media bias expose only on his political life, Mandela was equally an sports icon as he brought the first FIFA World Cup Tournament in Africa .

    December 9, 2013 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  11. Thomas

    Maybe Maxine Waters and Ted Cruz can sit next to each other on the 12 hour flight .

    December 9, 2013 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  12. Arun

    Does this fool know where South Africa is??

    December 9, 2013 05:02 am at 5:02 am |
  13. jonathan blakeney

    what is a racist like ted cruz going to mandelas funeral for!

    December 9, 2013 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  14. Alan S.

    I must say one thing about Ted Cruz, he keeps your interest whether you agree with him or not. What I find so interesting that he would stand up against his core supporters with their (right wing, southern "the South will rise again ideas") and clearly take a stance that one would expect of a more humanistic Democrate. I must admit Ted is full of suprizes, I wonder what he'll do next.

    December 9, 2013 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  15. Gurgyl

    Is going to be in his testimony that he got his "FOREIGN AFFAIRS EXPERIENCE"? Great experience this idiot can show this totally uneducated, ignorant, and innocent nation on earth.

    December 9, 2013 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  16. Marie MD

    Why is rafaelito paying respects to a man so unlike him?
    Maybe they can keep him in South Africa.

    December 9, 2013 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  17. rs

    Certainly, Mr. Cruz's actions are appropriate- Mr. Mandela is going to be remembered as a hero, and only fools will act or say otherwise. But, I would also argue this is Cruz attempting to step away from the insanity of the far Right (like Cheney and the TEA Party-typess) who still call Mandela a terrorist, communist, etc.

    The GOP simply has to moderate of they hope to win national elections.

    December 9, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  18. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Schock and Cruz are the only republicans attending? Says a lot about the Republican Party and what they stand for.

    December 9, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  19. The Right Left

    Ted Cruz, has been hit by a spark of sanity. There is hope for the Republicans to crawl back out of the abyss they have sunk themselves into.

    December 9, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |