Ex-Apple CEO Sculley: Trump's smarter than critics think

Sculley: Trump is 'master of perception'

While real estate mogul Donald Trump is known for controversial statements, the GOP front-runner's persona may be a strategically formulated facade, according to former Apple CEO John Sculley.

"What Donald does is he understands, just like Steve Jobs did, the master of perception," Sculley told "Closing Bell" on Monday. "He can create something where people don't care about the facts; what they care about is that he's appealing to the disappearing middle class."

The former executive said Monday that Trump's "smarter than the critics are giving him credit for." He predicts that in the scenario where Trump becomes the Republican nominee he will "pivot."

"He will change the perception for himself to be much more presidential; he still won't worry about the facts," Sculley said. "But he will come across much more as a leader and presidential than he's tried to."

What's in store for the Democratic nominee?

I voted for Trump to destroy the GOP

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton has been leading the delegate count despite losing both Kansas and Nebraska to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders this weekend. In the scenario that Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, she could have former GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush's fate upon her, Sculley contended.

"[Trump] positioned Bush so that Jeb never recovered," he said. "That's exactly what he's going to try to do to Hillary Clinton."

Sculley said Trump redefined the image of Bush and Hillary could suffer the same fate in a general election contest.

But the challenges for Trump extend beyond his opponents, other GOP members are aggressively opposing him becoming the Republican Party's nominee. Last week, former presidential nominee Mitt Romney made a speech where he warned the audience against Trump.

"If we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished," Romney said.

Still, Sculley contends that Trump is "very, very smart and he gives the impression that he doesn't take time to study facts, [but] let's expect that he knows a lot more."

— CNBC's Javier David contributed to this article.