Presidential travel overseas is usually months in the making — but President Barack Obama’s trip to South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s Tuesday memorial service will be the end result of a process measured in mere hours.
Shortly after Thursday’s announcement of Mandela’s death, Secret Service and American military personnel were en route from the United States to South Africa to prepare for Obama’s arrival.
There they joined officials dispatched from Secret Service field offices in Rome and Pretoria, who had long been coordinating with South African officials planning Mandela’s memorial service and funeral. With countless world figures set to descend on Johannesburg, the world’s attention will be trained on the memorial service to remember a man who embodied the struggle against apartheid and changed world history.
— Michele Bachmann on President Obama