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Giuliani withdraws as candidate for Trump secretary of state

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Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has withdrawn from consideration to become President-elect Donald Trump's secretary of state or serve in any other capacity in the new administration, the transition team announced.

[WASHINGTON] Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has withdrawn from consideration to become President-elect Donald Trump's secretary of state or serve in any other capacity in the new administration, the transition team announced.

Mr Giuliani had been named by transition officials as one of the contenders to be the nation's top diplomat, but has decided to remain in the private sector, according to a statement Friday from Mr Trump's transition office. He withdrew from consideration during a meeting with Mr Trump on Nov 29, the statement said.

"Rudy would have been an outstanding member of the Cabinet in several roles, but I fully respect and understand his reasons for remaining in the private sector," Mr Trump said in the statement.

Mr Trump is still considering options for his secretary of state, pondering a list that has been described as contracting and expanding repeatedly over the last few weeks.

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Kellyanne Conway, a top Trump adviser, said on Fox News Friday that the list currently includes "a very diverse group."

She mentioned Alan Mulally, the former chief executive officer of Ford Motor, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, former CIA director David Petraeus, Senate Foreign relations committee chairman Bob Corker, former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, and representative Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican.

She also said "Mayor Giuliani is still in the mix," an assertion at odds with the announcement that he took himself out of the running earlier.

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In New York City, Mr Giuliani gained praise for overseeing a drop in violent crime and for his handling of the Sept 11 attacks - earning the nickname "America's Mayor" - but he left office with a reputation as one of the most divisive chief executives in the city's history. 

Mr Trump had few more loyal - and combative - allies throughout his presidential campaign than the 72-year-old former mayor and federal prosecutor.

Mr Giuliani vouched for Mr Trump in the face of sexual-misconduct allegations, saying they didn't ring true; criticised the Iran nuclear deal; and backed Mr Trump's claims that President Barack Obama founded Islamic State.

Critics raised questions about how Mr Giuliani's fiery temperament would fit the role of a diplomat. Senator Rand Paul, a Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee who's wary of foreign entanglements, raised concern about the former mayor's work for foreign governments and companies and his history of giving paid speeches after he left the New York mayor's office in December 2001.

Reince Priebus, who will serve as Mr Trump's White House chief of staff, said in the transition office's statement that the former mayor "was vetted by our team for any possible conflicts and passed with flying colours."

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