According to CNN on Dec. 9, House Speaker John Boehner picked Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Illinois) to lead a delegation of House members to South Africa for Mandela's commemorate service. In addition to the official House delegation, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus will also accompany the House delegation to South Africa. After receiving the honor, Schock told the press:
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 an humbled to be leading so many of my colleagues in tribute to Nelson Mandela.
Cruz joins the delegation amid heavy criticism from his own supporters in response to his respectful tribute to Mandela after the former president died on Dec. 5.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, along with former presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, will all travel to South Africa to pay tribute to Mandela. A total of 70 heads of state and 10 former heads of state are expected to make the trip to Johannesburg.
The ceremony for Nelson Mandela will be held on Dec. 10 and is expected to draw numerous world leaders and fill the 95,000 seat stadium where the ceremony will be held.