A retired Air Force veteran in Arizona who voted for President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE in the 2016 election announced on Monday that he will be casting his vote for Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race On The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Health Care — GOP attorneys general warn of legal battle over Biden's vaccine mandate MORE in November after the man’s wife died of complications from COVID-19.
Dave Dahlstrom, a self-proclaimed lifelong conservative, told ABC’s Phoenix affiliate station, KNXV, that Trump and other top officials downplaying the threat of the virus after it first hit the United States earlier this year caused deaths and hardships that could have been prevented.
"Our leadership really failed the American people, and they failed my family, and they failed our friends,” he said. “I’m really bothered by all of that."
Earlier this month, Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward released audio recordings with Trump for his book "Rage." The recordings revealed that Trump knew early on in February that the virus was going to be "deadly."
“I wanted to always play it down,” the president told Woodward at the time. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
According to KNXV, Dahlstrom and his wife, Cindy, were married for more than 30 years. Cindy worked for the federal government and spent most of her career at the Department of Defense.
In late June, Cindy, 72, flew to Denver to visit her daughter and grandchildren. Cindy previously had valley fever, which Dahlstrom said resulted in “a left lung that was scarred.”
Days after flying, Cindy tested positive for the virus and was put on a ventilator. She died on July 6.
"They pulled the ventilator. Two minutes later she passed away," Dahlstrom told KNXV. "It was just a dynamic I would never wish on anybody. It was just terrible."
As of Monday, the Arizona Department of Health Services has reported a total of 217,510 cases of COVID-19 in the state, along with 5,623 deaths.
Cases in the Southwestern state have fallen after spiking in the summer, with CNN reporting Monday that new cases in the state fell by more than 10 percent in the past week.
Most recent election polling in Arizona shows Biden ahead of Trump by a slim margin, with FiveThirtyEight placing Biden at about a 3.6 percentage point lead on Tuesday.
Last week, an ABC News-Washington Post poll had Trump ahead of Biden in the state by 1 point.