Fact Squad: Peters ad accurately touts work for farmers, omits lack of success

A new campaign ad from Sen. Gary Peters features C-SPAN footage of a 2018 White House meeting with President Donald Trump. (screenshot)

LANSING — U.S. Sen. Gary Peters “went to work” for Michigan cherry farmers in Washington, D.C., according to a new statewide campaign ad from the first-term Democrat, who is running for re-election against Republican John James.

The commercial, airing in both a 30-second and 60-second format, features Nels Veliquette, an Antrim County cherry grower who praises Peters for helping Michigan farmers fight against Turkish producers accused of intentionally dumping cheap fruit in the U.S. market.

That effort has been largely unsuccessful, however, a fact the ad hints at in a final comment from Veliquette: “This fight is far from over, but it’s good to know that Gary has our back.”

The claims

“All they wanted was a chance to compete,” Peters says in the ad, describing how Michigan cherry farmers were hurt by Turkish cherries being sold at “unfair” prices.

Peters was “the one guy that showed up from the very beginning,” Veliquette says.   

“He came to the factory, he listened to the growers, he listened to the processors. Gary even went directly to President [Donald] Trump in the White House to bring this problem to light for the cherry farmers here in Michigan.”

The facts

Peters has advocated for Michigan cherry farmers in their fight against Turkish imports and last year urged imposition of a nearly 650 percent tariff.

That hasn't happened After initially imposing a temporary 205 percent tariff in September of 2019, the U.S. International Trade Commission in January reversed itself and decided against a permanent tariff, rejecting a preliminary U.S. Commerce Department finding that Turkey is exporting dried tart cherries at below production cost. Instead, the commission in July began tracking Turkish cherry imports to further assess the impact on U.S. farmers.

Peters sponsored bipartisan legislation that would establish a federal task force that could recommend investigations into unfair trade practices. He raised the proposal in a February 2018 meeting with Trump and other members of Congress, telling the president cherry dumping is making it “very difficult” for growers who may not have resources to hire their own attorneys. 

“You have my help,” Trump told Peters. “I think it's a fantastic idea."

Nonetheless, the legislation has gone nowhere in the Republican-led Senate.

The conclusion

The facts are clear: Peters used his position in the Senate to fight for Michigan cherry farmers. Fact Squad did not identify any misstatements in the ad. And although the ad glosses over the fact that his advocacy wasn’t particularly successful, its chief argument is that he made the effort.

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

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Kevin Grand
Thu, 08/13/2020 - 6:19pm

"...And although the ad glosses over the fact that his advocacy wasn’t particularly successful, its chief argument is that he made the effort."

So, should we be giving Gary Peters a participation trophy for this?

Anyone in Congress can introduce legislation.

Successful elected representatives get what they introduce approved by both chambers and then signed by the President.

The mere fact that he even ran this ad implied that he was successful. If he cannot find the integrity to come right out and say it, what else is he keeping hidden?

Fri, 08/14/2020 - 10:19am

Hadr to put up a fight when that traitor trump is backing Turkish imports!!!!

Tired of Trump Lies
Fri, 08/14/2020 - 5:15pm

Yeah, why didn't Trump the Deal Maker protect Michigan cherries? When will he put America first, instead of Turkey?

Sun, 08/16/2020 - 2:17pm

Your solution is for the US taxpayers to buy our domestic produce rather than imposing tariffs on the foreign produce that is being dumped on us????? How does that help us??????

middle of the mit
Sun, 08/16/2020 - 9:21pm

The real funny thing is, the article never says who receives the produce!

Is it going to food banks? (Hopefully)

Where is the produce going?

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 8:49pm

Anyone ever figure out what John James will do besides lie about Peters?

Fri, 08/14/2020 - 2:24pm

The biggest thing John James would do if elected is give "do nothing" (he has failed to act on over 400 bills passed by the house) Moscow Mitch a chance to stay in power.

Fuming Fran
Sun, 08/16/2020 - 2:20pm

Yeah, John James will be another Clarence Thomas who just rubberstamps whatever MOSCOW MITCH wants done, like appoint rightwing judges and obstruct votes on bipartisan house legislation. Oh and he will take away reproductive rights of women.

middle of the mit
Fri, 08/14/2020 - 1:52pm

So, John James puts out a misinterpreting , a hack of a cut clip ad projecting the Trump and Republican non response to a hoax disease, a Wooo han flue, as what Senator Peters has done. Yet this ad by Senator Peters is comparatively false because Senator Peters left out that Mitch McConnel is sitting on the legislation, just like hundreds of other bills?

Yeah.........Ooooo Kaaaaaay.

Bob Dunn
Sun, 08/16/2020 - 9:30am

When the Republican led senate will not consider anything the Democrats propose it is destructive to our country. We need a functioning senate not a self-serving one.

GOP hates USA
Sun, 08/16/2020 - 2:22pm

Correction, won't consider any House legislation, even bipartisan legislation.

Bari Johnson
Tue, 08/25/2020 - 3:01pm

Thank you for fact-checking! I only wish more people would choose to learn the facts.