Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani waves as he leaves Trump Tower in New York on Nov. 22. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Rudolph W. Giuliani, a former New York mayor and an early backer of Donald Trump, has withdrawn his name for consideration for a Trump administration job. Giuliani was on the president-elect’s shortlist for secretary of state.

In a statement, the Trump transition team said Giuliani informed Trump of his withdrawal at a Nov. 29 meeting. Giuliani delivered a letter to Trump, who declined to accept it at that meeting. On Friday, Giuliani again asked Trump to withdraw his name, and he accepted, according to a senior transition official.

Giuliani said in a statement that the decision was “not about me.”

“It is about what is best for the country and the new administration,” he said. “Before I joined the campaign I was very involved and fulfilled by my work with my law firm and consulting firm, and I will continue that work with even more enthusiasm.”

“From the vantage point of the private sector, I look forward to helping the President-elect in any way he deems necessary and appropriate,” he added.

In a statement, Trump called Giuliani a “close personal friend” whom he would continue to call upon for advice while in office.

“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,” Trump added.

The drawn-out search for a secretary of state has left two names near the top of the list: former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Exxon Mobil chief executive Rex Tillerson.

Both men are valued by Trump for their experience in dealmaking around the world in their capacities as business executives. But Romney has faced a public revolt from Trump loyalists who believed that his comments during the campaign denouncing Trump went too far.

Giuliani was backed by the loyal political outsiders within Trump’s inner circle. But his candidacy faced challenges, including questions about potential conflicts raised by the work his consulting business did on behalf of foreign governments.

However, Trump’s incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus, pointedly sought to address speculation that conflicts might have imperiled Giuliani’s path to Senate confirmation.

Giuliani “was vetted by our team for any possible conflicts and passed with flying colors,” Priebus said. “The team appreciates Rudy’s contributions to the victory and considers him a close friend and adviser.”