Donald Trump, while insisting he is running his own campaign, has a growing circle of people who are proving to be influential to the direction the presumptive GOP nominee takes moving forward.
According to The Hill,
the people most influencing Trump include campaign chairman Paul Manafort; GOP operative Roger Stone; Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama; daughter Ivanka Trump and husband, Jared Kushner; and conservative economists Larry Kudlow and Stephen Moore.
Manafort, a veteran GOP strategist and global affairs operative, joined Trump's campaign in late March as a convention manager when it appeared that the party was headed toward a contested convention in Cleveland.
He has since become campaign chairman, putting tension between him and long-time campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
Stone, who Trump once called a "stone-cold loser," acted as an adviser to the Trump campaign in 2015, later leaving to launch a pro-Trump super PAC, which Lewandowski called a "big league scam."
Trump and Stone, though, are now "tight," said a Trump ally, even though the candidate will not acknowledge the relationship. "He’s the hatchet guy and Lewandowski’s worst nightmare.”
Sessions, one of Trump's first backers, is his point man on Capitol Hill, and often acts as a Trump surrogate, heading up the candidate's national security working group. He is often mentioned as a potential running mate as well.
Meanwhile reports The Hill, Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio said he does not think the New York mogul "takes very many people seriously," but that he'd listen to his "children to a point...especially Ivanka."
He has entrusted his daughter and his sons to take key roles in his business empire, but Ivanka has shown skills of her own and she has become a key surrogate in his campaign.
Meanwhile, her husband, a real estate investor who owns The New York Observer newspaper, has an interest in foreign policy and has worked with Trump to develop comments on Israel and the Middle East, reports The Hill.
Kudlow, of CNBC and Moore, of the Heritage Foundation, have become campaign economic advisers, providing advice on taxes, spending, trade, and energy policy.
There are several others in Trump's growing list of trusted advisers, including retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, with a source telling Newsmax in May
that the two are "like brothers" since the former presidential candidate endorsed Trump. The pair are constantly on the phone, and the low-key Carson has been a calming influence on Trump, the source said.
In addition, Trump is long-time friends with former New York City Rudy Giuliani, one of the few establishment political figures he really trusts and goes to for advice.
Trump's son Donald Trump Jr., meanwhile, keeps a low profile but is one of the most trusted people around his father. He is said to be quite passionate about politics and protective of Trump.
Michael Cohen, Trump's long-time counsel and political is also a trusted adviser. During this election season he is focusing on Trump's business interests, but still has his boss' ear.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, while downplayed like Carson, also maintains a special relationship with Trump, and the presumptive nominee is also reportedly close to Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue, who plans a fundraiser for Trump next week.
The Hill reports that Don Benton, the Washington state chair of Trump's campaign, and Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald, also have close ties with Trump.
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