For all his emphasis on loyalty, President-elect Trump’s decision to exclude from the next administration three of his most dedicated supporters — Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich and Gov. Chris Christie — suggests Trump might have sensed flaws in his friends that ultimately drove him toward candidates outside his inner circle.

Each was likely cast aside under different circumstances. Giuliani withdrew his own name from contention for the secretary of state position, but not before rumors hinted at Trump’s displeasure with the way the former New York City mayor had publicly angled for the job. Gingrich has said he never asked to be considered for a Cabinet post, even though he had unsuccessfully gunned for the vice presidency this summer. And Christie’s leadership role in the transition process was significantly diluted in November on the heels of a courtroom drama that dredged up details from the 2013 “Bridgegate” scandal.

Peter Wehner, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center who served in the last three Republican administrations, noted that while each snub occurred for unique reasons, the omission of all three loyalists offered “more generalized lessons” about Trump’s decision-making.

“I imagine that Trump, he views himself as the alpha male, so he’s going to want to control and dominate every relationship that he has,” Wehner said. “There’s nobody that he’s named to the Cabinet that strikes me as uncontrollable and unpredictable.”

Gingrich would not have fit that mold, Wehner argued, because his boisterous personality might have made him “extremely hard to control.”

“I think the more people are exposed to Gingrich, the more wary they often become of him,” Wehner said. “He’s a person with a lot of energy and a lot of ideas, but he’s also unmoored and unhinged. He’s not a stable and grounded personality.”

Gingrich told reporters in Washington earlier this week that he had asked to remain outside the government so he could focus on what he already views as his job: “developing the agenda, pushing the agenda, explaining the agenda.” The former House speaker frequently defends Trump’s policies on the cable news circuit, and has continued to do so even after he was passed over in favor of Vice President-elect Pence just before the Republican convention.

“[Trump] views relationships in an entirely transactional way, and he acts in ways that will advance his interests alone,” Wehner said. “If he thinks that you can help him, he’ll treat you well, and if he thinks you’ve exhausted your utility to him, he’ll cut you out.”

Although Gingrich, Giuliani and Christie may have outlived enough of their usefulness to fall short of a top job, all three have said they plan to continue advising the president-elect from outside the government.

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One Republican strategist who worked on an opposing GOP presidential campaign suggested Trump apparently did not consider loyalty alone to be decisive when filling out his administration.

“Based on these Cabinet picks, it looks like the president-elect is more interested in bringing in the A-team than rewarding loyalty for loyalty’s sake at this point,” the strategist said.

Giuliani was locked in a public battle for the most prestigious post in Trump’s Cabinet: secretary of state. His main opponent, seemingly until the end of the process, was Mitt Romney, who could accurately be described as the antithesis of a Trump loyalist.

While Giuliani campaigned enthusiastically for Trump, Romney had publicly ridiculed the Republican nominee and had even called on members of his party to reject Trump’s candidacy.

But Trump ultimately eschewed both contenders for Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, an unconventional choice for the nation’s next chief diplomat, in a move that freed the president-elect from choosing between one of his closest allies and one of his harshest critics.

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Mark Serrano, a Republican strategist, said Trump’s selection of an “international dealmaker” like Tillerson indicates Giuliani may never have checked the boxes Trump wanted his secretary of state to check.

“That reflects, I think, what Donald Trump was probably seeking all along,” Serrano said. “He wasn’t interested in someone who would just work within the confines of the State Department or international diplomacy. He was looking for a dealmaker.”

“If that’s the profile that Donald Trump sought, then clearly none of these three fit the profile,” Serrano said of Gingrich, Giuliani and Christie. “I look at it as simply, he had a different profile in mind for that position.”

Of the three excluded loyalists, Christie arguably risked the most by backing Trump early and forcefully during the GOP primary. Fellow Republicans ridiculed Christie at the time for lining up behind Trump while a significant faction of the party was still trying to prevent him from winning the GOP nomination.

Fresh off his own failed presidential bid, the New Jersey governor worked quickly to walk back criticism he had lobbed at Trump when they were opponents.

But Christie’s fate seemed sealed within days of Trump’s victory. The president-elect elevated Pence to the top of the transition team and expanded Sen. Jeff Sessions’ influence over the process while effectively demoting Christie to the role of vice chair.

Serrano argued Christie, like Giuliani and Gingrich, had fewer options than other Cabinet contenders due to his political stature.

“They have senioritis,” he said. “Because they’ve served in such senior roles in government but also in Donald Trump’s campaign, there are really not that many positions that they would likely consider. They are, in a lot of ways, too senior for a lot of positions in government.”

Beyond attorney general or secretary of state, “there probably weren’t that many positions that these three very high-level supporters were interested in,” Serrano said.

Trump awarded the attorney general post to Sessions less than two weeks after winning the presidency in one of the first major moves of his transition period.

That may have left Giuliani eyeing only the secretary of state job, as he reportedly refused to consider any other Cabinet posts that aides suggested for him.

Now Giuliani will join Gingrich and Christie in weathering the incoming Trump storm from outside the administration. And in the meantime, prominent figures such as Rick Perry and Ben Carson have accepted roles that don’t typically attract political stars.

“I’ve talked to people who are seeking positions in various agencies and you know, in the past I might look at a role in Veterans Affairs or the Energy Department as rather lacking in excitement,” Serrano said. “I don’t think there’s a department in this government that will be lacking in excitement.”

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