Trump's GOP friends stand outside the party circle

Still, LePage’s appearance was remarkable in that it is so rare these days for a current office holder to want to be mentioned in the same sentence as Trump — let alone campaign with him. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, facing a difficult re-election this year, did not join Trump on a Thursday trip to Manchester, where he criticized trade policy that she supported.

And it casts a light on the small and eccentric group of Trump’s friends in the political sphere. They are a mix of current and former office holders, including former presidential primary rivals. Few of them carry much clout in Republican circles these days, but some have been effective advisers on politics and policy for the presumptive nominee. Some campaign for him in person or on television, while others are working to court their respective networks on his behalf…

The fact that Trump has so few GOP buddies in high places is something that endears him to supporters and appeals to those frustrated with Washington and government across the country. “He’s done well without a political pedigree or background,” Huckabee told RCP. “He only needs people who have been through this to assist in the more technical aspects of the campaign calendar, structure, and process.”