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This is one in a series of fact checks the Detroit Free Press is doing on public issues in conjunction with PolitiFact, a nonprofit national news organization. Suggest a fact-check here.

The claim: Sen. Gary Peters ‘downplayed the pandemic’ and ‘failed to act’

A new TV ad from Senate Republican candidate John James attacks incumbent Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., over his response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ad features an elderly patient lying on a hospital bed. Over the sound of a beeping ventilator, the ad’s narrator issues a long list of accusations against Peters: “He ignored all the warning signs. He downplayed the pandemic. … He failed to lead. Gary Peters leads the committee charged with pandemic response but Peters skipped hearings, blew off reports, downplayed risks.”

The ad features a short clip from a Fox News interview on Feb. 12 in which Peters said, “We think the