WASHINGTON — For a brief moment, it looked as if America’s mayor just might become America’s diplomat.
But for Rudolph W. Giuliani, the bombastic former mayor of New York City, a wild year of being one of President-elect Donald J. Trump’s most passionate surrogates did not, in the end, land him the high-profile administration job he has long coveted.
Instead, Mr. Trump announced on Thursday that he would enlist Mr. Giuliani to share his “expertise and insight as a trusted friend” on the issue of cybersecurity. Mr. Giuliani, who has spent the last 16 years as a private security consultant, will “from time to time” assemble meetings between Mr. Trump and corporate executives who face cyberthreats, the transition team said.
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“We’ve let our defense fall behind,” Mr. Giuliani told reporters on Thursday during a conference call. “Our offense is way ahead of our defense.”
Mr. Giuliani put on a happy face during the call, declaring it a “great privilege” to be taking on the role.
But the announcement — almost an afterthought, coming the day after lawmakers grilled Rex W. Tillerson, Mr. Trump’s nominee to be secretary of state, in his confirmation hearing — reflected how far Mr. Giuliani had fallen in the Trump universe.
He remains a close friend of Mr. Trump’s, according to associates. But he will not be moving to Washington, as he once hoped, and instead of having his political career rejuvenated after his failed run for president in 2008, he will continue to run his consulting firm.
From the start of Mr. Trump’s campaign, Mr. Giuliani was there: loudly defending the candidate against scandals, attacking Hillary Clinton and President Obama, lashing out at the news media, and boldly asserting that Mr. Trump would be the solution to the nation’s problems on race, terrorism, the economy, gender issues, health care and just about everything else.
At the Republican National Convention, where Mr. Trump secured his party’s nomination, Mr. Giuliani waved his arms, shouted, clenched his fists and thundered against Mr. Trump’s Democratic opponent. “Hillary Clinton is for open borders,” Mr. Giuliani claimed, warning ominously of “operatives who are terrorists, who are going to come to Western Europe and here and kill us.”
It was a classic Giuliani performance that lit up the crowd in Cleveland at a high point for Mr. Trump. And months later, when the release of an “Access Hollywood” tape revealed Mr. Trump speaking graphically about assaulting women, Mr. Giuliani was one of the few people to publicly defend the candidate.
Mr. Trump rewarded that loyalty by seriously considering Mr. Giuliani for a series of posts in the administration. Transition officials informally discussed with Mr. Giuliani the positions of attorney general, secretary of homeland security, and director of national intelligence. Mr. Giuliani wanted none of them.
What he did want was secretary of state, and his decision to make that plain as day to anyone who asked might have helped scuttle his chances. Some transition officials were also concerned that Mr. Giuliani, 72, might not have the stamina for the globe-trotting job.
In the end, Mr. Giuliani removed his name from consideration in mid-December after the drawn-out public audition, shortly before Mr. Trump announced he had chosen Mr. Tillerson.
Now, the ill-defined cybersecurity post may be Mr. Giuliani’s best hope of adding some Trump administration luster to his private security business. But his previous forays into the national and international security arena have been less than an unqualified success.
After leaving the mayor’s office, he received a multimillion-dollar signing bonus to join a Houston-based law firm with oil industry connections, but spent a majority of his time working on a fast-growing international security business called Giuliani Partners.
In 2004, Mr. Giuliani pushed President George W. Bush to choose Bernard Kerik, his former police commissioner and an associate at Giuliani Partners, as homeland security secretary. Mr. Kerik’s nomination was abruptly pulled after it was revealed that he had employed an unauthorized immigrant as a nanny. Mr. Giuliani’s influence with the Bush team evaporated, and Mr. Kerik was later sentenced to four years in prison on federal tax charges.