PHOENIX — Kristin Urquiza, who blamed Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and President Donald Trump for her father’s death from the coronavirus in a widely shared obituary in June, said Monday in an impassioned speech on the opening night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention that she will be voting for Joe Biden in memory of her father.
Urquiza, who grew up in the Maryvale neighborhood of Phoenix, said in a short, pre-taped speech that her father, Mark Anthony Urquiza, trusted political leaders to keep him safe amid the pandemic and ended up contracting COVID-19 after a night out with friends in late May. He thought it was safe to resume normal life after Ducey lifted Arizona’s stay-at-home orders.
“He had faith in Donald Trump,” Urquiza said in the video, interspersed with family photos. “He voted for him, listened to him, believed him and his mouthpieces when they said that coronavirus was under control and going to disappear, that it was OK to end social distancing rules before it was safe.”
He died in a hospital intensive care unit just a couple of weeks later after an “agonizing” battle with the coronavirus and time spent on a ventilator. He was 65 years old with no pre-existing conditions, his daughter said.
“His only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that he paid with his life,” she said.
Urquiza wrote her father’s obituary shortly after his death on June 30, calling out Ducey and Trump for their leadership during the pandemic, which has hit people of color hard.
A recent JAMA study showed how communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by the virus. In Arizona, American Indian and Alaskan Native, Asian and Black patients were hospitalized in greater numbers than their share of the state’s population.
The 39-year-old Urquiza, who now lives in San Francisco, said she intends to vote for Joe Biden this November in memory of her father, a decision her father would approve of.
“One of the last things that my father said to me was that he felt betrayed by the likes of Donald Trump,” she said. “And so when I cast my vote for Joe Biden, I will do it for my dad.”
Here are her full remarks:
I’m Kristin Urquiza. I’m one of the many who has lost a loved one to COVID. My dad, Mark Anthony Urquiza, should be here today but he isn’t. He had faith in Donald Trump. He voted for him, listened to him, believed him and his mouthpieces when they said that coronavirus was under control and going to disappear, that it was okay to end social distancing rules before it was safe, that if you had no underlying health conditions you’d probably be fine.
So in late May, after the stay-at-home order was lifted in Arizona, my dad went to a karaoke bar with his friends. A few weeks later, he was put on a ventilator. And after five agonizing days, he died alone in the ICU with a nurse holding his hand. My dad was a healthy 65-year-old. His only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump — and for that he paid with his life.
I am not alone. Once I told my story, a lot of people reached out to me to share theirs. They asked me to help them keep their communities safe, especially communities of color, which have been disproportionately affected. They asked me, a normal person, to help because Donald Trump won’t. The coronavirus has made it clear that there are two Americas: the America that Donald Trump lives in and the America that my father died in.
Enough is enough. Donald Trump may not have caused the coronavirus but his dishonesty and his irresponsible actions made it so much worse. We need a leader who has a national, coordinated, data-driven response to stop this pandemic from claiming more lives and to safely reopen the country. We need a leader who will step in on day one and do his job, to care.
One of the last things that my father said to me was that he felt betrayed by the likes of Donald Trump. And so when I cast my vote for Joe Biden, I will do it for my dad.