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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, September 2, 2020

Guests: Dr. Uche Blackstock, Linda Darling-Hammond, Jena Griswold, Kristin Urquiza, Nicholas Kristof, Elizabeth Neumann, Uche Blackstock, Linda Darling-Hammond


Today Joe Biden called the reopening of schools, quote, "a national emergency". Joe Biden said that if he were elected president he would direct the federal emergency management agency to provide emergency relief funding to immediately help K through 12 schools with ventilation, personal protective equipment and hiring more teachers. The Attorney General of the United States echoed Donald Trump's lying today about mail-in voting, a method of voting both the president and the attorney general have used themselves to cast their own votes. Attorney General William Barr said today that mail-in voting is playing with fire. more than 20 million Americans listened to Kristin Urquiza at the Democratic National Convention when she talked about her father's death from the coronavirus and she said that memorable line, "His only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump."



Tom Seaver was such an idol of mine. I had the thrill of watching him pitch in person, and I was a high school pitcher myself at the time. And it was -- you know, you would just sit there like a student and just try to memorize every -- every bit of it.

He was just a genius on the mound. Just amazing to watch.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": One of the all time greats. And Hall of Fame is an achievement, but even it's sort of not big enough to explain what he was.

O'DONNELL: Yeah, and a wonderful person. A truly wonderful person. That's absolutely right. I'm so glad you included that in his bio.

MADDOW: Yeah, thanks, Lawrence.

O'DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel.

Well, Kristin Urquiza will join us tonight at the end of the hour. We all met her on television on the first night of the Democratic Convention.


KRISTIN URQUIZA, LOST HER FATHER, MARK, TO COVID-19: Hi. I'm Kristin Urquiza. I'm one of the many who has lost a loved one to COVID. 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.


O'DONNELL: Kristin Urquiza will get tonight's last word. Kristin is one of many who made the case against Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention.

But four years earlier, Donald Trump made the case against Donald Trump's reelection and he did it, as Donald Trump would say, very strongly.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Americans watching this address tonight have seen the recent images of violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities. Many have witnessed this violence personally. Some have even been its victims.

I have a message for all of you, the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon, and I mean very soon, come to an end.


Beginning on January 20th of 2017, safety will be restored.

The most basic duty of government is to defend the lives of its own citizens. Any government that fails to do so is a government unworthy to lead.


O'DONNELL: Unworthy to lead. A new poll shows that Americans agree with that assessment of the Trump presidency. A new Quinnipiac national poll of likely voters, which gives Joe Biden a solid ten point lead over Donald Trump, 52/42, also finds that 50 percent of voters feel less safe having Donald Trump as president and only 35 percent feel more safe.

That is the polling answer to the big question Joe Biden asked this week.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You feel safer and more secure now?


O'DONNELL: A new CNN national poll of registered voters which shows Joe Biden ahead of Donald Trump 51/43 shows Joe Biden with a similar lead over Donald Trump over who would keep Americans safe. Joe Biden leads Donald Trump 51/45 on that question.

The front runner of the presidential campaign, Joe Biden, announced today that he will travel to Kenosha, Wisconsin tomorrow in the aftermath of the police killing of Jacob Blake Jr., a black unarmed man who was shot in the back seven times by a police officer who was so close to him when he was shooting him that he was holding on to Jacob Blake's t-shirt from behind.

Jacob Blake was shot in the back as he was getting into his car where his three young children watched him being shot ten days ago.

Today, NBC's Mike Memoli asked Joe Biden why he's going to Kenosha.


MIKE MEMOLI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Why is now the right time for you to go to Kenosha, and what do you hope to accomplish?

BIDEN: Well, I have -- we have spoken to all the leaders up there. And although I have an outstanding call with the governor, we dealt with his staff, because -- and there's been overwhelming requests that I do come because what we want to do is we got to heal. We got to put things together, bring people together.

And, so, my purpose in going will be to do just that, to be a positive influence on what's going on, talk about what need be done and try to see if there is a beginning of a mechanism to bring the folks together. We have to heal. This is about making sure that we move -- that we move forward.

And, so, I've gotten advice from sitting members of the Congress and the Senate as well to go and that I should go, and I'm not going to do anything other than meet with -- in meetings with community leaders, as well as business people and other folks in law enforcement and to see -- start to talk about what has to be done.

I'm not -- I'm not going to tell Kenosha what they have to do, what we have to do together. The idea that we are saying, you know, the president's current people will retreat to their corners and keep this moving is just a mistake. I spent my whole life bringing the people together, bringing the community and police officers together, bringing business leaders and civic leaders together. So that's my purpose in going.


O'DONNELL: Joe Biden is not just campaigning against Donald Trump. He is campaigning against Vladimir Putin who, according to the director of National Counterintelligence is, quote, using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden.

That same report by the director of National Counterintelligence described China as simply preferring Joe Biden to win the presidency instead of Donald Trump but not actually doing anything criminal to make that happen, the way Russia is. Most countries in the world would prefer a sane president of the United States, and so most countries in the world, including our oldest allies, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, would prefer that Donald Trump be defeated in his re-election. But those countries are not trying to interfere in our election the way Russia is.

Today, the attorney general of the United States once again proved himself willing to lie for Donald Trump when in an interview with CNN, he said that China is being more aggressive than Russia in trying to interfere with our election. And Vladimir Putin is not just being aggressive in interfering in our election to re-elect Donald Trump, he is being aggressive against American troops in Syria.

Here is Russian video of Russian troops aggressively going after American troops in Syria. As soon as they see that American flag that Donald Trump claims to honor, American troops were injured in this incident, in this aggressive act by Russian troops that Donald Trump has not said one word about. Not one word about that incident. And no Republican has criticized Donald Trump for his silence.

Donald Trump lives in abject fealty to Vladimir Putin. No previous president in history would have been silent in the face of that kind of Russian aggression and no previous president in history would have been silent after a Russian opposition leader was apparently poisoned by Vladimir Putin. Joe Biden issued a strong condemnation of that poisoning tonight, while Donald Trump remains silent about it, out of apparent loyalty to the country that helped him win the Electoral College four years ago.

And that silence allows Vladimir Putin to show the world who is in charge of Donald Trump, who is in charge of the president of the United States. And so, yes, Vladimir Putin wants and needs Donald Trump to remain in the presidency so that Vladimir Putin can dominate the president of the United States as no one in history has ever dominated an American president.

And so, Vladimir Putin and the Russian government will do anything to get Donald Trump re-elected. And Donald Trump and his team will do anything and say anything to pretend that's not happening.

ABC News is reporting that the Department of Homeland Security has suppressed intelligence about Russian attacks on Joe Biden. ABC reports in early July, the Department of Homeland Security withheld publication of an intelligence bulletin warning law enforcement agencies of a Russian scheme to promote allegations about the poor mental health of former Vice President Joe Biden, according to internal e-mails in a draft of the document obtained by ABC News.

The draft bulletin titled, Russia likely to denigrate health of U.S. candidates to influence 2020 election was submitted to the agency's legislative and public affairs office for review on July 7th. The analysis was not meant for public consumption, but it was set to be distributed to federal, state, and local law enforcement partners two days later on July 9th.

The e-mails show just one hour after its submission, however, a senior DHS official intervened. Please hold on sending this one out until you have a chance to speak to acting secretary of homeland security Chad Wolf, wrote, the DHS chief of staff, according to an e-mail obtained by ABC News. That was nearly two months ago. But the bulletin was never circulated.

Leading off our discussion tonight, Elizabeth Neumann, a former assistant secretary for counterterrorism and threat prevention at the Department of Homeland Security in the Trump administration. She resigned in April and has endorsed Joe Biden for president last week.

Also with us, Nicholas Kristof, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The New York Times" and co-author of the book "Tight Rope."

Elizabeth Neumann, I want to get your reaction to this ABC report about the department you used to work in, Homeland Security, suppressing this Russian intelligence about Russian efforts against Joe Biden.

ELIZABETH NEUMANN, FORMER DHS OFFICIAL, TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: I was really shocked to read the report. This is not normal practice. I served both as deputy chief of staff under Secretary Kelly and for two years as the assistant secretary for counterterrorism and threat prevention. I asked former colleagues just to make sure my memory wasn't poor, none of us can recall ever asking our intelligence apparatus to pull on a product indefinitely for two months.

And the -- there are any number of factors that when you are on the outside, you might not have access to, so I suggest that there is possibly some possibly reason why it was held for security reasons, but on its face, it looks like it was held for political purposes. Usually you don't have the secretary's office pulled an intel product. It is just seen as political tinkering and that's a big no-no when it comes to the intelligence community.

O'DONNELL: Can I ask you? With information like this, from the job you were in at Homeland Security, this -- you might not have full information on how this would flow, but would that information be provided to the candidate? Would it be provided to Joe Biden, this finding that the Russians intend to attack you this way?

NEUMANN: You know, the way that candidates get briefed is usually a different part of government, other than the Department of Homeland Security. So I would have to defer to the intelligence community to explain when and how they brief the candidates. I was tracking that when I was in government and we would see some of these reports, that it was getting briefed appropriately, really not just candidates but both parties received briefings in my recollection, trying to keep everybody educated about the election interference, about state of play in our states to be able to make sure that we're securing the election apparatus across the country.

There has been a lot of progress made in election security. There is much to be praised about what is happening over the last four years. It is disheartening because when it comes to this information, when it comes to things like this, the best way to inoculate the American public is make them aware that this disinformation is happening.

So being able to quickly and transparently communicate that to the appropriate authorities, as well as the public, is kind of a key mitigation tactic to this disinformation.

O'DONNELL: Nick Kristof, Joe Biden's very strong statement tonight about the poisoning of the Russian opposition leader in which he called that poisoning a favorite weapon of the Kremlin, that statement is yet another indicator of why Russia really wants to keep Donald Trump in the White House.

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yeah. I mean, that's right. The investment that Vladimir Putin made in the 2016 election has ultimately paid off. It's paid off in Trump's willingness to pull back and what he says about Ukraine and about what he says about Alexei Navalny, about his failure to speak up about Russia and Syria and about the bounties that Russia was apparently offering for the killing of American service people in Afghanistan.

And so, that makes it doubly troubling that we're seeing, again, an investment by Putin in manipulating the 2020 election in the U.S. and again a parallel track, if you will, on the kinds of allegations that Russia is making about Biden and those that the Trump campaign is making about Biden.

And this time, the Trump organization is in a position to try to stifle communication of those efforts to law enforcement around the country. And this is, you know, profoundly upsetting and alarming.

O'DONNELL: Nick, I want to go to the issue of Joe Biden going to Kenosha tomorrow. We heard him explain extemporaneously in a press briefing today why he's going, saying he wants to contribute to a positive tone there. He wants to try to bring people together.

Everything he said actually sounded like the standard thing that a president or any politician would say about why they're going to a place in the aftermath of a tragedy like that. And yet every one of those lines was something you couldn't imagine being said by Donald Trump. You also have the difference of Donald Trump was asked not to come by elected officials there in the state. Joe Biden is being asked to come by members of the congressional delegation of the state.

What are you expecting to see tomorrow with Joe Biden in Kenosha?

KRISTOF: I think that, you know, Vice President Biden will focus on this notion of providing healing, that while president Trump incites, that Joe Biden heals.

But, you know, it's also worth noting that right now we're talking about law and order in the context and order in the context of Kenosha and not in the context of COVID-19. President Trump has to some degree successfully turned everybody's minds away from the threat that it is by far the greatest for all Americans. That is the pandemic to the issue of whether Joe Biden is tough enough on law and order.

And, you know, I think -- I mean, Biden has responded, I think, very ably to those allegations, but it is a reflection of the president's ability to distract that we're not talking about what is killing far, far more people around the country.

O'DONNELL: Elizabeth Neumann, you are a part of a very, very small collection of people in history who have worked for a presidential administration and then campaigned against the re-election of that president. Since you came out at the Democratic convention, made the statement that you made, what thoughts have you had about it since then and what has -- what has developed in your thinking about it since then? Have there been any news developments that make you consider more about why you would make the case for Joe Biden?

NEUMANN: You know, in the lead-up to making the decision to speak out, I was primarily concerned about safety, a potential retribution, potential fringe elements of the cult of Trump that might try to cause harm, and we have been warned that we needed to take that into consideration.

I have to say on the other side of speaking out, I'm grateful that we haven't had to face that challenge yet. But I feel more concern for how important it is to ensure that these voters have the truth. And I feel that the -- watching the Republican national convention, there was just such a whitewashing of history, and I felt it all the more important to ensure that Americans have access to hard facts and data of what is actually going on in the administration, and I don't think that most of us that served intended for what we were doing on the inside to cloud the full picture for the American public.

I think at the time we were genuinely just trying to help the president succeed. At the beginning, we thought he just didn't know how to do the job. As time went by, it became apparent he just couldn't do the job.

And so, there were many people for quite a long time that tried to hold things together, to try to make sure that bad decisions weren't made, that we didn't accidentally stumble into war.

And over time, all of those people that had the gravitas to be able to tell the president, not this direction, go this direction, all of them have been pushed out. And we're left with people that are yes men at this point.

So I'm very fearful for what happens for our country if we have four more years of Trump and nobody able to rein him in.

And so, I guess to answer your question, after I started speaking, I actually felt a sense of peace and freedom that this was what I was supposed to be doing and I heard a lot of positive feedback that people were grateful that I was sharing the perspective all for the purpose of making sure that the American people have the full information when they decide what to do this November in casting their vote.

O'DONNELL: Elizabeth Neumann and Nick Kristof, thank you both for starting off our discussion tonight. We really appreciate it.

NEUMANN: Thank you for having me.

KRISTOF: Thank you.

O'DONNELL: Thank you.

Coming up, Joe Biden says he knows exactly who's to blame for many American school children not being able to return to their classrooms next week, which elements their parents' possibilities of going back to work. Joe Biden explained today what he would have done to help schools open safely this year. That's next.



BIDEN: If President Trump and his administration had done their jobs early on with this crisis, American schools would be open and they would be open safely. Instead, American families all across this country are paying the price for his failures.

Mr. President, where are you? Where are you? Why aren't you working on this?

We need emergency support funding for our schools, and we need it now. Mr. President, that's your job. That's your job.


O'DONNELL: Today, Joe Biden called the reopening of schools, quote, a national emergency. Joe Biden said that if he were elected president, he would direct the federal emergency management agency to provide emergency relief funding to immediately help K-12 schools with ventilation, personal protective equipment and hiring more teachers. In other words, provide federal government funding to give schools and teachers what they need to actually reopen schools and what parents need to trust the reopening of schools.

Joining us now is Linda Darling-Hammond, president and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute and a professor at Stanford University. She is one of the education officials who briefed the Vice President Biden about his school reopening plan.

Also with us, Dr. Uche Blackstock, an emergency medical physician. She is also the founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity and a Yahoo! News medical contributor.

Doctor, let me start with you. What do you think the science requires for the reopening of schools?

DR. UCHE BLACKSTOCK, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: So, there is several factors there at play. The most important factor is the community transmission rate. Currently the CDC and WHO are saying 5 percent positivity rate. Anything above that, it's not safe to open. And so, looking at that number, there only are a smaller number of areas throughout the country that are prepared to open.

New York City with a positivity rate of less than 1 percent. And then after looking at community transmission rate, you have to think about the resources that schools have, ventilation, masks, being able to separate and cohort students into smaller groups, having space as well as school nurses. So, all of those factors are incredibly important for parents to consider when deciding to send their kids to school.

O'DONNELL: Linda Darling-Hammond, what did you advice Joe Biden needed to be done for the reopening of schools?

LINDA DARLING-HAMMOND, PRESIDENT & CEO, LEARNING POLICY INSTITUTE: Well, there is a couple of things that we need. Certainly, we need all of the things that the doctor just listed in schools in order to make them safe. And there are costs associated with those things. Thus far, the Recovery Act that has been passed has spent less than 1 percent of all that money on supporting schools to get the resources that they need to be able to open.

In addition to the things that were just mentioned, there is the need for additional cleaning and disinfecting, and there is a need for adequate testing and tracing, so that if there are cases they can be immediately dealt with in quarantine.

So we need the funding that's been held up in the Congress to get to schools so that those things are available. We also need clearer guidance from the CDC about the level of infection at which a community can safely open schools and the ways in which they should treat cases for quarantining and closing down when there are cases that occur in schools.

All of those things are being taken up by the states. But right now the states have had quite a big hit in terms of the economy, and so, they are operating quite often in deficit, in need of the federal support in order to be able to do the job that needs to be done.

O'DONNELL: Let's listen to what Dr. Anthony Fauci told Andrea Mitchell today about the infection rate and how it is still running much too high, about 40,000 a day.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We're right around 40,000 new cases. That's an unacceptably high baseline. We have to get it done.

I'd like to see ten thousand or less, hopefully less. So I'd really want use this opportunity almost to have a plea to the people in this country to realize that we really still need to get our arms around this and to suppress these types of surges that we have seen.


LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Dr. Blackstock what, does the horizon look like from here with the Labor Day weekend coming?

DR. UCHE BLACKSTOCK, YAHOO NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: You know, to be honest, I think it needs to be emphasized to all Americans that we're nowhere near out of this, especially with traveling coming up over the Labor Day weekend. Traveling means further spread of the virus.

And so we're going to ask every American to wear masks, safely distance, wash their hands, use all the preventive measures that we know or expected (INAUDIBLE) this virus.

The fact is that we're not going to be out of this until we have a safe and effective vaccine, and I don't know when that's going to be.

O'DONNELL: Linda Darling-Hammond, why don't Republicans see the connection between getting kids into classrooms and then being able for those -- the parents of those kids to be able to go back into workplaces, which they currently cannot do because they have to deal with their kids being at home?

LINDA DARLING-HAMMOND, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: Well, I can't speak for any individual congress people, but I can say that there are a lot of misperceptions out there about the way in which schools need to behave in order to be safe.

We have already seen seven states open schools and have to close a number of schools because infection rates soared because they didn't do all the things that the doctor was just talking about. They didn't have masks and cohorts and personal protective face coverings and so on.

So there is a lot of misunderstanding still out there in the field. And then, of course, the fact that those things require some investment as other countries that have opened schools safely have discovered is something that we need everyone to fully appreciate.

O'DONNELL: Dr. Blackstock, New York City is still struggling a bit to open even though their infection rate is low. The teachers are balking and so there has been a delay even in New York City with opening. And that delay could possibly be followed by another delay.

DR. BLACKSTOCK: Right. As I mentioned earlier, there are multiple factors to consider before we open schools. So even though the community transmission rate is quite low in New York City, the concern is valid and interest and concern among teachers and educators was that schools did not have the resources.

So there were schools where windows don't open, the ventilation system was not working properly, there was not adequate PPE or an adequate testing infrastructure in place.

And so I support the teachers because we want them to be able to go back to school like the students and feel safe. And I know how it is as a front line worker having to go to work and making sure that I feel protected. So that's just an important issue that we need to address before we open schools.

O'DONNELL: Dr. Uche Blackstock and Professor Linda Darling-Hammond, thank you both for sharing your expertise with us tonight. We really appreciate it.

DR. BLACKSTOCK: Thank you.


O'DONNELL: And when we come back, Donald Trump knows that if it is easy for everyone to vote, he will lose and he will lose in a landslide, which is why Donald Trump rants incoherently against the easiest way to vote -- voting by mail which is of course the way Donald Trump himself votes.

The Secretary of State of Colorado where every voter since 2013 has been receiving their ballots in the mail will join us next.


O'DONNELL: The Attorney General of the United States echoed Donald Trump's lying today about mail-in voting, a method of voting both the president and the attorney general have used themselves to cast their own votes. Attorney General William Barr said today that mail-in voting is playing with fire.

In an interview, he angrily insisted that mail-in voting is more susceptible to fraud but he was forced to immediately admit that he had absolutely no evidence of that and was just basically just making it up.

Republicans did not complain when Colorado switched to all mail-in voting in 2013. And in that very first all mail-in vote in Colorado, Republican Cory Gardner won his seat in the United States Senate with a victory margin of 2 percent and no Republican said that victory was the result of voter fraud. No Republican said Colorado was playing with fire by mailing ballots to every voter in the state.

Joining us now is Jena Griswold. She is the secretary of state of the state of Colorado. Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

What is your reaction to what the attorney general had to say today about the way you conduct voting in Colorado?

JENA GRISWOLD (D), COLORADO SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, Lawrence, thank you for having me on. And my reaction is it's disgusting the length that the president and the attorney general are trying to go. You know, it doesn't take much to realize what they're trying to do. They're trying to undermine confidence in the election and suppress turn-out in November.

And to add on to the facts you are sharing about Colorado's election, not only did a senator, Republican senator win in 2014, we have had more Republicans vote by mail than Democrats in the last two out of three general elections.

So, you know, it is a system that works in Colorado and I think the whole nation should have access to vote by mail for all.

O'DONNELL: The United States Postal Service has done an audit and has found that there are some voting jurisdictions who mail -- sent their ballots to the voters so late that those voters didn't have enough time in the past to turn them around and get them delivered in time.

What was your reaction to that audit and what steps does Colorado take to make sure the voters have enough time to deliver their ballots?

GRISWOLD: Well, we don't see the issues outlined in the audit in Colorado. Our system works really well. And I would just encourage the rest of the nation to look towards Colorado's election model.

So we send out ballots about three weeks before the election and actually ask Coloradans to stop mailing mail ballots back eight days before election day and instead drop them off at one of hundreds of mail ballot drop boxes. And Lawrence, I'm really proud to share that we're going to have over 360 drop boxes across the state, an increase of 49 percent since I became secretary of state.

O'DONNELL: When do you count the mail-in ballots?

GRISWOLD: We start tabulation 15 days before election day. So in our statewide primary, which was June 31st, not only did we set a record turn-out in the pandemic, we were able to report 89 percent of all the ballots cast on election night.

But with that said, I know one of the many lies the president is spreading is the idea that ballots not counted on election night are no good. And that's just not true.

O'DONNELL: How much time does a Colorado voter have to get the ballot in? Does it have to arrive by election day in Colorado?

GRISWOLD: It does. It does have to arrive by election day. 7:00 p.m. on election night the polls close and the county clerks need to have those ballots.

With that said, we have a very accessible election. We lead the nation in terms of percentage of eligible people registered and we always -- our number one or number two in terms of turnout.

So our election model works and about 75 percent of Coloradans who vote on mail ballot actually returns them to a drop box instead of through the mail.

O'DONNELL: Colorado is a very big state, and we have seen delays in the mail. I personally mailed a birthday card in Los Angeles a distance of three miles -- it took 17 days. That was back in the end of July. Are you worried about those kinds of stories in mail delivery this year?

GRISWOLD: Well, I hope whoever was receiving that card wasn't too upset with you for receiving it so late, but I guess I would say, in Colorado I'm confident that mail ballots will arrive on time. We send them out so early and we're in direct communication with both postal workers and the management of our region. And we have a lot of confidence.

But I am concerned at the length that the president is going to try to undermine our elections. And just undermine confidence. Not only is he attacking the post office because he believes it's a way to stop Democrats from voting. He is threatening to send armed law enforcement to the polls, which is a tactic straight out of the Jim Crow South.

And the list of what he is doing goes on and on. And we should be very concerned that the president of the United States is trying to tilt an election in his favor.

O'DONNELL: Have other secretaries of state around the country been calling you for advice on how to handle this this year?

GRISWOLD: Yes. So since March, I have been trying to spread the Colorado election model across the nation. I have spoken with lots of secretaries of state and our elections division has been sharing tips and best practices. And those conversations -- excuse me. Go ahead.

Sorry, we're out of time. We're going to have to have you come back. You are the country's leading expert on how this should work.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, thank you very much for sharing your expertise and knowledge about this tonight. We're going to have to hear more from you before the election.

Thank you very much.

GRISWOLD: Thank you.

O'DONNELL: And when we come back, 20 million Americans -- more than 20 million Americans listened to Kristin Urquiza at the Democratic National Convention when she talked about her father's death from the coronavirus and she said that memorable line, "His only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump."

Kristin Urquiza will join us and get tonight's LAST WORD.


O'DONNELL: A thousand people every day. A thousand lives lost. If election day on November 3rd is like today, at least a thousand people will die of the coronavirus that day. And by November 3rd, well over 200,000 people in this country will have lost their lives to the coronavirus.

Today this country suffered 1,025 deaths from coronavirus. As of tonight, the United States has reported 6,131,550 confirmed cases of coronavirus. And as of tonight, the United States has suffered 186,655 deaths from coronavirus.

Each of those deaths has spread the grief of the coronavirus to more and more people. Millions of Americans know someone who has lost a loved one to the coronavirus. And we all met one of those people on the first night of the Democratic convention.


KRISTIN URQUIZA, FATHER DIED OF COVID-19: Hi. I'm Kristin. 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 ok 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.

My dad was a healthy 65-year-old. His only preexisting 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.


O'DONNELL: Kristin Urquiza will join us next.


O'DONNELL: On the first night of the Democratic convention, Kristin Urquiza said that when her 65-year-old father died from coronavirus, quote, "his only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump and for that he paid with his life."

And then she said this.


URQUIZA: 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 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.


O'DONNELL: Joining us now is Kristin Urquiza. She's the co-founder of Marked by COVID.

(AUDIO GAP) joining us tonight. And first of all, I am very sorry for your loss and I know the country is. And we wish that we could just express that too in a way that you can feel and can be supported by. What has been the aftermath for you from making that speech at the convention.

URQUIZA: More people have come to me asking for help and have shared their stories. I think that my story just highlights the tens of thousands of people who are experiencing loss but also know that that loss was preventable and needless and don't feel safe in Trump's America.

O'DONNELL: Let's listen to the kind of thing your father was exposed to. He's living in Arizona and he's listening to Governor Doug Ducey say things like this. Let's listen to it.


GOVERNOR DOUG DUCEY (R), ARIZONA: I want to encourage people to get out and about, to take a loved one to dinner, to go retail shopping. If you don't have an underlying health condition, it's safe out there.


O'DONNELL: And your father believed that.

URQUIZA: My father became ill with coronavirus exactly two weeks to the day that that was aired. I remember talking to my dad about what he was planning to do after that aired. And my dad saying to me, listen Kristin, I hear what you are saying, but why would the governor say it's safe if it is not? And that's what we are supposed to do during times of crisis, which we are in a crisis in this moment. Just to follow the advice of our leaders. That is what my dad did and for that, he paid with his life.

O'DONNELL: When your father got sick, did he start -- did he at any point talk about the way he had been? Did he feel misled?

URQUIZA: Oh, absolutely. When he was first ill I engaged him on what he was thinking about it as it pertained to politics. My dad and I always talked about politics as part of our relationship.

And he told me he felt sideswiped. I could tell in his voice that there was so much betrayal and disappointment and it made me heartbroken honestly because my dad trusted Doug Ducey and President Trump and their misinformation led him astray and as a result he got sick.

O'DONNELL: And was he someone who watched Fox a lot?

URQUIZA: A lot is an understatement. There was never a time -- morning, noon or night that Fox News wasn't on. My dad, you know, was a lifelong Republican who listened to Fox News and also, you know, the president and the president's mouthpieces.

O'DONNELL: Joe Biden said at the convention when he talked about loss that the thing that he recommends people do is find purpose. This seems to be the purpose that you found.

URQUIZA: Yes. I have definitely channeled my grief into purpose, not only because I care about my dad, but this is channeled through love, not only for my father but for my country and people that I don't even know.

We are at an inflection point right now where we need to decide the direction of this country. And I am voting for democracy. I want to make sure that people -- normal people like my dad and me, that our health is prioritized.

O'DONNELL: Kristin Urquiza, we can all feel your love for your father tonight. And we really, really appreciate your joining us. And again, very sorry for your loss.

URQUIZA: Thanks for having me.

O'DONNELL: Thank you.

Kristin Urquiza gets tonight's LAST WORD.



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