They aren't. They're subject to the same errors.
Imagine the cognitive dissonance that needs managing when you've already stuffed up such a massive crisis. Are you going to suddenly be rational? Suddenly reappraise and listen to experts?
Some of their decisions might seem like cynical opportunism but often they're just sincere - and wrong - self-deception.
He's made many decisions before that that have killed people.
He's not going to deal with that by staring it down the barrel, looking in the mirror and saying "I did that".
Nope, he's going to rationalise it.
That's what you're seeing right now: the lies someone tells themselves made public, the inner monologue of self-justification broadcast to an audience.
Now it's starting to hit home. He's in a risk category. His shares are tanking. But he's publicly committed to that stance: this is not a problem.
If we were rational, we wouldn't smoke. But if that person tries to quit and can't, they feel dissonance between those two cognitions...
Or "smoking doesn't cause cancer".
The more serious this gets, the greater the weight of the dissonance.
Some will succumb to reality, but many will rationalise more and more.
- focus on symptoms over causes (hoarding as individual moral failing)
- doubling down on prior choices (i.e. race/borders)
- minimisation (make the issue small and the dissonance with it)
- relocation (someone else's fault)