Interviews

Giuliani: I could play a better role being on the outside

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," December 9, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has taken himself out of the running, we're told, for any Cabinet position.  That is any Cabinet position in a Trump administration.  

Don't know exactly what happened or how it transpired or when it all transpired, but on the phone with us right now is the mayor, Rudy Giuliani.  

Mayor, good to have you.  What happened here?  

RUDY GIULIANI, R-FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK:  Well, I decided, I guess it was about 10 days ago, November 29, that the whole thing was becoming kind of very confusing and very difficult for the president-elect and my desire to be in the Cabinet was great, but it wasn't that great.

And he had a lot of terrific candidates.  And I thought I could play a better role being on the outside and continuing to be his close friend and adviser.  That's sort of the role I played during the campaign.  I never worked for the campaign.  I was never part of it.  Gave me a certain degree of independence and being able to give advice.

And I saw that he had so many good candidates available, I mean, there was no reason to complicate his life any longer.  So, I withdrew back on the 29th, but...

CAVUTO:  Back on the 29th?  So this is obviously some days ago.  

GIULIANI:  Yes.  That's right.  

CAVUTO:  What did he tell you at the time?  

GIULIANI:  Well, at the time, they said they...

(LAUGHTER)

GIULIANI:  They said they didn't accept the letter.  And, therefore, they wanted to still hold me in consideration for the State Department.

CAVUTO:  Who told you that, Mayor, if you don't mind?  Was that the -- was that Donald Trump?

GIULIANI:  A number of different -- a number of different people.  

But then, today, we agreed it was worth releasing it finally.  

CAVUTO:  What was your final conversation with the president-elect?  

GIULIANI:  It was, this is a good time to do it.  They're down to the last two, three, four.  So, it made sense to just get out of the way.  

CAVUTO:  You're talking about the last two, three, four, presumably for secretary of state position, Mayor?  

GIULIANI:  Yes.  

Honestly, the other positions, I didn't have an interest in.  So, really, that was the only one I had any real interest in.  But it wasn't so overwhelming that I'm terribly disappointed.  I would like to do anything I can to happen the president-elect.  

If he had a need he couldn't fill somewhere, I would have done it.  But he has plenty of people that can fill that need.  And I'm extraordinarily happy in what I do.  So when I joined the campaign, it wasn't as if I was looking for a job.  It just kind of emerged after the campaign was over.  

CAVUTO:  When did it change?  Or you talked about the process at the beginning, Mayor, when they -- when all of a sudden out of nowhere Mitt Romney emerged as a candidate for that position.  What did you think of that?  

GIULIANI:  Well, I probably agree with Newt and with Mike Huckabee and a group of other very loyal supporters of president-elect Trump.

Mitt's -- I thought Mitt went over the line in the things that he said about Donald Trump.  And the president-elect is going to make his decision. I will support that decision.  But my advice would be, Mitt went just a little too far to -- you can make friends and make up, but I don't -- I would not see him as a candidate for the Cabinet.  

CAVUTO:  The fact that, since Mitt Romney dined with Donald Trump, that the pool has expanded all the more, including meetings with Senator Corker and, of course, with the ExxonMobil CEO, who seems to be getting mentioned more often, was that a sign that Donald Trump now wasn't looking so favorably on Mitt Romney?  

GIULIANI:  I don't know.  

I also think John Bolton has to be considered in that mix.  John would probably be my choice.  I think John is terrific.  

CAVUTO:  Well, did the team give you any indication, Mayor, with taking yourself out of the running, who they were leaning toward?    

GIULIANI:  I'm on the transition team, which complicates everything.  

CAVUTO:  I understand.

GIULIANI:  I'm on the transition team, but for the State Department.  

(LAUGHTER)

GIULIANI:  In other words, I'm recused from the State Department. But I'm in all the other decisions that go on.  So...

CAVUTO:  Were you offered Homeland Security?  

GIULIANI:  I am not going to discuss other positions that we discussed.  

CAVUTO:  But they did discuss other positions, Mayor?  

GIULIANI:  We discussed other positions.  I'm not going to say whether I was offered them or not.  

CAVUTO:  All right, but is it fair to say that the only one that you wanted, if there was one to consider, would be secretary of state?

GIULIANI:  That is fair.  That's absolutely fair.  And that, I indicated privately and publicly.  

CAVUTO:  I see.

What about your business connections?  Much had been made of that, Mayor, that it would have complicated, maybe not compromised your getting approved, but that it was a wrinkle that the campaign or that the transition team didn't want?

GIULIANI:  Well, I had them vet me.  

CAVUTO:  Yes.  

GIULIANI:  I went through the entire vesting process, so that I could -- I didn't want that question lingering, so we spent four days before I submitted this letter going through the entire vetting process of all the clients I had, all of my tax returns, all of the business arrangements that I had.

And none of them would amount to anything, not even a conflict of interest. And I have been doing business for 14 years, and I have never had an accusation of anything, never had a regulatory violation.  So I wanted that, because I wanted to make sure that the business came out of it squeaky clean, which it did.  

It is true I spoke in many countries, but they were all basically private and they were about subjects that I'm an expert on.  Last night, I got the award from the defense department of Colombia for helping to reduce crime and eliminate the FARC in Colombia.  So I do, do business all over the world.  

CAVUTO:  Yes, but you didn't think that it would be damaging to your prospects?

GIULIANI:  No.

CAVUTO:  You have mentioned the process again.  And much has been made -- there's no way to hide, I guess, in the Trump Tower going in or out.  I guess you can try different entrances.  It's very difficult not to be noticed.  

Did you find this process demeaning?  Or others have said, boy, you can't escape the glare.  What?  

GIULIANI:  No, I found it transparent, which I think is good.  

Put me aside.  Would I rather go in privately and have it all discussed privately, me as a person?  Probably.  But from the point of view of the public and the job that all you have to do in looking at candidates, I think this is a good way to do it.  

I think it's good for the public to see the four or five.

CAVUTO:  So, you're not bitter?  Bottom line, Rudy Giuliani is not bitter, is a little bitter, what?  

GIULIANI:  Not at all.  I'm a very happy man.  

CAVUTO:  OK.  

GIULIANI:  I'm very happy in what I do.  

Donald continues to be one of my closest -- I'm sorry -- the president- elect, Donald Trump, continues to be one of my closest friends.  

(LAUGHTER)

GIULIANI:  I'm going to go to the Army-Navy game with him tomorrow.

CAVUTO:  Oh, OK.

GIULIANI:  I'm available.  I'm available for advice 24 hours a day.

CAVUTO:  All right.  

GIULIANI:  And if some time in the future, something else opens up, I am certainly open to talking to him any time he has a need that he can't fill anywhere else.  I'm the guy.  

CAVUTO:  All right.  

Rudy Giuliani, America's mayor.

GIULIANI:  Thank you.  

CAVUTO:  Not to be the next secretary of state or any other Cabinet position.  

END

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