Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, congressional Democrats to commemorate Mandela in South Africa
(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 24 members of the House of Representatives and Senate will leave early Monday morning for the service Tuesday in Johannesburg at FNB Stadium.
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; Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio; Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida.
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.
“We mourn the loss of Nelson Mandela and offer our condolences to his family and the people of South Africa,” Cruz posted to Twitter.
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, joined by 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.”