Republican politicians have tried to pay homage on Facebook to the late Nelson Mandela since his death on Thursday, but many of their conservative supporters want to hear none of it.
Peruse through comment sections of the GOP’s Facebook tributes to Mandela, and there’s a good chance you’ll find plenty of vitriol for the former South African president and for the politicians who praised him.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) wrote that Mandela “will live in history as an inspiration for defenders of liberty around the globe.” One commenter took a different view of the anti-apartheid leader’s legacy, urging “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.”
As Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) sees it, Mandela “showed South Africans and the entire world what the power of forgiveness truly means and can accomplish.” It’s unclear if some of Rubio’s disappointed supporters will be similarly forgiving of the senator.
One woman found it “sad” that Rubio, a son of Cuban immigrants, showed such reverence given that the GOP senator’s family “fled the very things that mandela (sic) stood for.” After seeing the tribute, another woman said Rubio had lost her vote.
Matt Bevin, the Republican waging a primary challenge against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), mourned “the loss of a true hero,” but one commenter wondered if the tribute was a sign of Bevin’s “true colors.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) wrote that the “world has lost an exceptional leader who made the world a better place.” But some commenters cried foul at the “revisionist history” of Mandela. Another expressed relief that “Mass Murderer Mandela is finally dead.”
A commenter on the Facebook page of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who commemorated Mandela’s “perseverance in fighting the apartheid system,” likewise said that the death made him “glad.” Another wondered if Boehner was implying support for “communism and the killing of white people.”