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The United States is facing both a deadly pandemic and a political crisis, and in each case, some highly trained professionals have been actively undermining the public interest. A handful of physicians, academics, and other trained experts have helped enable President Donald Trump’s deadly mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic and stoked needless fears about vaccines. Attorneys with impressive credentials have assisted Trump in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, which culminated in an attempted coup. Many of the professionals in question were once respected authorities in their fields; today, they are at the forefront of pushing conspiracy theories that have immobilized a 245-year-old democracy and its ability to perform basic functions, such as holding elections and protecting citizens from preventable mass death.

Many people have observed a growing hostility toward experts in the U.S., but a less noted and more troubling trend has been the complicity of credentialed professionals in discrediting themselves.
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