Republicans praise Mandela, draw ire of supporters

Updated
Flowers are layed on the ground in front of the South African Embassy in Paris a day after the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela on Dec. 6, 2013
Flowers are layed on the ground in front of the South African Embassy in Paris a day after the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela on Dec. 6, 2013
Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty

OK, maybe I’m naïve. But I guess I thought that by the end of his life, Nelson Mandela had pretty much transcended the usual partisan and ideological food-fights, to a point where pretty much everyone is now on board with the fact that he was a remarkable human being who did more than just about anyone currently on earth to advance peace, justice, and reconciliation.

Looks like I was wrong. Via TPM (again!): In response to the former South African president’s death Thursday, several Republican politicians posted standard tributes to Mandela on Facebook today. But not everyone seemed to share the sentiment.

When Sen. Ted Cruz praised Mandela, one commenter responded:

Why don’t all you Mandela lovers head on over to South Africa and see what’s going on now that “Mandela’s people” have control of the nation…experience what life is really like. Especially if you are white.

Yup, that’s Ted Cruz: squishy sellout “Mandela lover”!

Here’s what someone posted after a similar tribute by Rep. Eric Cantor:

no, he was a terrorist and a commuinist (sic). study your history.

And another:

The Mass Murderer Mandela is finally dead. While he did some statesmen like things as President in the 1990s, he and his animal of a wife were mass murders and torturers.

As for Speaker John Boehner, his tribute drew this comment:

John, from your comments does it mean you support communism and the killing of white people

And when Sen. Marco Rubio posted a tribute, he got the following:

For someone whos(sic) family fled communism…fled the very things that mandela stood for…I am sad to see you revere this man.

And:

He was a communist terrorist man.

Now of course, making too big a deal out of random Facebook comments is usually a mistake. There’s a lot of dumb stuff on the internet. But the recurrence of these kinds of responses on the pages of Republican politicians makes it pretty clear that this is a sentiment that’s not exactly rare in conservative circles.

This is a longer story, of course. Here’s what National Review wrote about Mandela just ten years ago when he opposed the Iraq War:

His vicious anti-Americanism and support for Saddam Hussein should come as no surprise, given his long-standing dedication to Communism and praise for terrorists. 

And check out this eye-opening account from ThinkProgress of how the mainstream conservative movement “worked tirelessly to undermine [Mandela’s] cause.” 

Eric Cantor, John Boehner, Marco Rubio, Nelson Mandela and Ted Cruz

Republicans praise Mandela, draw ire of supporters

Updated