GOP Mourns Nelson Mandela, Won't Mention Reagan, Cheney, Religious Right Opposed Him, Supported Apartheid
South Africa’s first black president and civil rights icon Nelson Mandela died today at the age of 95.
“We’ve lost our greatest son,” said South Africa’s current President Jacob Zuma.
The Republican National Committee released a statement on GOP.com:
"On behalf of the Republican Party, I send our deepest sympathies to the Mandela family and to the people of South Africa on the passing of former President Nelson Mandela,” said Chairman Priebus. “The world will always remember the legacy of the man who dedicated his life to freedom and equality.
“An oppressive government, 27 years in prison, and a divided nation – none destroyed his determination to see a more just world. His legacy is defined by doing what others declared impossible, most notably fighting the evil of apartheid and beginning the healing of a nation.”
However, there was no mention about how President Ronald Reagan and conservative Republicans supported apartheid in South Africa and opposed Mandela being freed from a jail cell where he spent 27 years of his life.
Likewise, there was no mention of how the Religious Right despised Mandela in The Christian Post's article about Mandela's death.
According to PolicyMic.com, in 1986, Sen. Jesse Helms (R–NC), Strom Thurmond (R–SC) Phil Gramm (R–Texas) and Rep. Dick Cheney (R–Wyo.) all opposed the Anti-Apartheid Act, which condemned South Africa for its institutional racism, put in place economic sanctions and called for freeing Mandela and other political prisoners.
Even though the Anti-Apartheid Act passed Congress, President Reagan vetoed it and claimed sanctions would hurt black South Africans, whom he also blamed for violence in the country.
Congress overrode President Reagan's veto in 1986, noted The New York Times. Only three years later South Africa would dismantle apartheid because of economic sanctions by the US (and other countries) and release Mandela.
In 2000, Dick Cheney defended his 1986 vote against stopping apartheid with economic sanctions, CommonDreams.org:
Yet Republican vice presidential candidate Cheney still defends his vote, saying on ABC's This Week' that "The ANC was then viewed as a terrorist organization... I don't have any problems at all with the vote I cast 20 years ago.'"
However, Mandela and the African National Congress were only viewed as terrorists by the racist South Africa regime, President Reagan who added the ANC to the US terrorism watch list, conservative Republicans like Cheney and ministers on the Religious Right.
According to RightWingWatch.org, both Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell demonized Mandela, whom they considered pro-communist.
Falwell even warned his supporters that South Africa would become part of the communist Soviet Union if apartheid was overturned:
Now is not the time to turn our backs on South Africa. The world has witnessed the Soviets capture nation after nation. They have been particularly aggressive in Africa. South Africa must not be the next victim!
The book Pat Robertson: An American Life notes that Robertson claimed the ANC was “led by communists and was hostile to Israel” and “his campaign literature made similar claims for the need to support the white government.”