Her Father Voted For Trump And “Paid With His Life”: A Daughter’s Searing DNC Speech

Kristin Urquiza lost her father to COVID-19 earlier this summer. “His only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that he paid with his life.”

Mark Anthony Urquiza, who died from COVID-19 in June, left; his daughter, Kristin Urquiza, speaking at the 2020 DNC, right. (credit: courtesy Urquiza family/DNCC)
Mark Anthony Urquiza, who died from COVID-19 in June, left; his daughter, Kristin Urquiza, speaking at the 2020 DNC, right. (credit: courtesy Urquiza family/DNCC)

Kristin Urquiza, a woman who lost her father to COVID-19, addressed the Democratic National Convention Monday night and gave a searing indictment of President Trump and his irresponsible rhetoric during the ongoing pandemic: “My dad was a healthy 65-year-old. His only preexisting condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that, he paid with his life.”

Urquiza garnered national attention in July when she wrote an obituary for her father in the Arizona Republic.

Her father, Mark, “like so many others, should not have died from COVID-19,” she wrote. “His death is due to the carelessness of the politicians who continue to jeopardize the health of brown bodies through a clear lack of leadership, refusal to acknowledge the severity of this crisis, and inability and unwillingness to give clear and decisive direction on how to minimize risk.”

Monday night at the DNC, Urquiza continued: “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.”

Urquiza said her father voted for President Trump in 2016, and that “he had faith in [him]...listened to him, believed him and his mouthpieces when they said the coronavirus was under control and going to disappear; that it was okay to end social distancing rules before it was safe; and 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,” Urquiza said, highlighting the insidious nature of a virus so infectious that family members cannot be near their loved ones when they die. Shortly after her speech, soccer champion and activist Megan Rapinoe held a short roundtable with frontline healthcare workers who spoke about such isolation.

In August, another obituary written by the widow of a COVID-19 victim called out Trump as well as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for encouraging “anti-maskers.”

Though Urquiza did not call Trump out by name in the obituary, she was direct on Monday night, saying, “Enough is enough. Donald Trump may not have caused the coronavirus, but his dishonesty and his irresponsible actions made it so much worse.” To date, more than 170,000 Americans have died from coronavirus.

Kristin, along with Mark’s daughter-in-law, Christine, wrote in the June 30 obituary that they were starting an “awareness campaign so fewer families are forced to endure this.” On the Facebook page Marked By Covid, they invite people to share stories of loved ones who are suffering or who have died because of coronavirus.

Related: Earlier Lockdowns Could Have Saved 54,000 U.S. Lives, Study Says

“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,” Urquiza said. “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.”