U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is on his way to South Africa as part of a congressional delegation to the memorial service for former South African president and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela. Cruz appears to be the only Senate member on the delegation, which includes two African American Democratic members from Houston, U.S. Reps. Al Green and Sheila Jackson Lee. The CODEL is being led by Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill.
Cruz' participation is especially notable because his Facebook page was filled with negative comments from some of his supporters after he posted a tribute to Mandela, who died last week at 95.
"I'm honored to be able to travel to South Africa to attend the memorial service for Nelson Mandela," said Cruz in a statement. "He was an historic figure who led his nation to move beyond unjust segregation and toward a more humane future. He endured decades of imprisonment and steadfastly continued his fight for equality. And, when justice prevailed in his battle against apartheid, and Mandela was elected president of his nation, he nobly chose reconciliation instead of retribution -- a legacy for which he will be remembered forever."
The service will be held Tuesday and will be attended by President and Mrs. Obama and former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush and former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton who are flying together on Air Force One. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter will also attend. Only one of the former presidents, George H.W. Bush, who has not been in good health, will not attend.