Biden debate guest: Woman who blames Trump for Arizona dad’s death

Sep 29, 2020, 12:30 PM
Mark Anthony Urquiza of Tolleson, who died in June of COVID-19, and daughter Kristin, who blames he...
Mark Anthony Urquiza of Tolleson, who died in June of COVID-19, and daughter Kristin, who blames her dad's death on the Trump administration. (Facebook Photo/Marked By COVID)
(Facebook Photo/Marked By COVID)

PHOENIX – A woman who blames the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response for her Arizona father’s death will be among Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s guests at Tuesday night’s presidential debate in Cleveland.

Kristin Urquiza, who told her father’s story during the Democratic National Convention in August, is joining two Cleveland-area residents on the guest list, the Biden campaign announced.

“Vice President Biden’s debate night guests represent the working families he will fight for as president, and they each highlight how Donald Trump’s failures to control the virus and save the economy have hurt hardworking Americans’ lives and livelihoods,” the campaign said in a press release.

Mark Anthony Urquiza, a longtime West Valley resident, died June 30 after contracting the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

“My dad was a healthy 65-year-old; his only preexisting condition was trusting Donald Trump — and for that he paid with his life,” Kristin Urquiza said in a video played during the convention.

She first made national headlines for the obituary she wrote, which was published by The Arizona Republic.

“Mark, like so many others, should not have died from COVID-19,” the obituary says. “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.”

Urquiza, an only child who was born in Phoenix and lives in California, didn’t stop with the scathing obituary. She created Marked by COVID in her father’s honor, an awareness campaign dedicated to changing the culture around coronavirus prevention.

During the convention video, she said her father’s faith in Trump’s COVID-19 messaging had deadly consequences.

“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, and that if you had no underlying health conditions you’d probably be fine,” she said.

Urquiza said her father went to a karaoke bar in late May. He became ill and was put on a ventilator a few weeks later before dying in a hospital intensive care unit, she said.

“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,” she said.

The first debate between Trump and Biden starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The president and former vice president are set to face off again Oct. 15 and Oct. 22.

The three presidential debates will be carried live on KTAR New 92.3 FM, and the KTAR News app and be followed by analysis with station hosts and expert guests.

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Biden debate guest: Woman who blames Trump for Arizona dad’s death