Trump says he'll use 'facts and instincts' when deciding to push for US to reopen

President TrumpDonald TrumpMedia giants side with Bannon on request to release Jan. 6 documents Cheney warns of consequences for Trump in dealings with Jan. 6 committee Jan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official MORE said Saturday that he will rely "on a lot of facts and instincts" when deciding whether to recommend that portions of the U.S. economy reopen amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

In a phone interview on Fox News's "Justice with Judge Jeanine," Trump acknowledged that the decision would be "the toughest decision I ever made and hopefully the most difficult I will ever have to make."

"I hope I'm going to make the right decision," he said. "I will be basing it on a lot of very smart people, a lot of professionals, doctors and business leaders. There are a lot of things that go into a decision like that. And it's going to be based on a lot of facts and instincts. Whether you like it or not, there is a certain instinct to it."

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He added that the White House would be making an announcement on the subject "reasonably" soon. 

Trump has alternated between pushing for the U.S. economy to reopen and deferring to medical experts who have called for social distancing guidelines to remain in place until the U.S. outbreak begins receding. 

Trump said earlier this month that the health of the country would take priority over the economy amid the pandemic. Then, at a White House briefing on Friday, the president said he wanted to open the economy "as soon as possible" and would convene an "Opening Our Country Council."

"This country was meant to be open and vibrant and great," he said.

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Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to tackle omicron risks with new travel rules Mnuchin and McConnell discuss debt limit during brief meeting Major Russian hacking group linked to ransomware attack on Sinclair: report MORE, White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsJan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official Fauci 'not aware' Trump tested positive for COVID-19 days before 2020 debate The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump's pre-debate COVID-19 test sparks criticism MORE, Trump's daughter and senior adviser Ivanka TrumpIvanka TrumpBiden celebrates start of Hanukkah Meadows comes under growing Jan. 6 panel spotlight Tucker Carlson rips Graham over report he told officers to shoot Jan. 6 rioters MORE, and private sector figures will reportedly be part of the group. 

As of Sunday morning, the U.S. had reported more than 530,000 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Roughly 20,600 people in the country have died from the virus, with with more than 7,000 deaths in New York alone. 

The outbreak has led states across the country to impose orders barring nonessential travel and large gatherings, measures that have upended the U.S. economy and led to a rapid surge in unemployment. Many states have imposed stay-at-home orders that stretch until June. 

Trump and some of his allies have continually expressed fears about businesses remaining closed for an extended period of time. Meanwhile, health experts, including Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci says he 'felt really badly' about 'difficult choice' on travel bans Overnight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Supreme Court weighs abortion restrictions Mask mandates on transit expected to be extended into March: report MORE, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading member of the administration's coronavirus task force, stress that restrictions must stay in place. 

“This is not the time to feel that since we have made such important advances in the sense of success of the mitigation that we need to be pulling back at all," Fauci said Friday.