In an odd statement, President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team announced Friday that Rudy Giuliani took his name out of the running to be secretary of state back on Nov. 29.
“President-elect Donald J. Trump announced today that during a meeting with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani held on November 29, 2016, Mayor Giuliani removed his name from consideration for a position in the new administration,” it read in part.
In an interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto Friday afternoon, shortly after the statement was sent to members of the media, Giuliani confirmed that he had attempted to take his name out of the running for the position Nov. 29, but “they said they didn’t accept the letter.”
“It made sense to just get out of the way,” he said, saying that he had been vetted for the position, but that it had become “complicated.”
“I saw that he had so many good candidates available, so there was no reason to complicate his life any longer,” Giuliani said.
Still, Giuliani said, his business ties to foreign governments, which have stirred controversy in recent weeks, were “not even a conflict of interest.”
Part of Trump’s inner circle during the presidential campaign, Giuliani was rumored to be a prominent candidate to be secretary of state, which prompted renewed focus on his foreign business ties. A New York Times report resurfaced that, after his mayorship, he gave speeches to an Iranian opposition group that was State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations until 2012. The consulting firm which Giuliani had established a the time, Giuliani Partners, also contracted with the Qatari government, which Trump had criticized during the presidential campaign for its human rights record.
Giuliani is a vice chair on Trump’s transition team–a position he confirmed he still had on Friday–and he has appeared regularly in support of Trump in speeches and on television. He told Cavuto Friday that he was still planning on attending the Army-Navy football game with Trump on Saturday.