NEW YORK, April 7 (UPI) -- Rudolph Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, said he will vote for Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump but he will not publicly endorse him ahead of the state's primary on April 19.
Giuliani, who ran for president himself in 2008, said his personal relationship with the Manhattan real estate developer goes back many years and that he regards Trump as a "friend."
"I think of the candidates, of the choices that I have, he's the best choice for president. He's a better choice than Cruz and a more realistic choice than Kasich," said Giuliani, referring to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Giuliani, a frequent commentator on cable news programs, has maintained a notably low profile ahead of New York's primary. Giuliani said he was traveling for much of the last few weeks and was not accessible to the media. He also said his status as a potential power broker as a New York delegate to the GOP convention is greater if he has not endorsed one candidate over the others.
When asked, Giuliani said he agrees with many, but not all, of Trump's policy positions. Giuliani also said he "didn't like" Trump's decision to circulate an unflattering photo of Cruz's wife, Heidi, on Twitter.
"I didn't like that," Giuliani said. "He's a first-time candidate -- you're going to have some of these mistakes. The man that I know is not the man you see on television. He's a gentleman, he's a good father."
Trump responded in a statement, thanking Giuliani for the support.
"Everyone has tremendous respect for Rudy Giuliani and this is such a great honor. Rudy knows me well and therefore it is an even greater honor than it would normally be," Trump said.