White House

Billionaire developer: Trump's always negotiating — so judge him on results, not what he says

LeFrak: Trump's trying to make a better deal on NAFTA

President Donald Trump has "more good sense" than opponents say, longtime friend and fellow real estate mogul Richard LeFrak told CNBC on Monday.

"There's always a bit of negotiating posture in a lot of the things he says," the president of The LeFrak Organization said. "Look at what he does, but not always what he says."

Using the president's desire to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada, LeFrak said Trump stakes out far-reaching positions to provide wiggle room in discussions "to try to get the best deal he can."

Addressing concerns about what critics would call Trump's inflammatory statements, LeFrak said, "He's Donald. He's not a scary character."

Trump doesn't scare me: Richard LeFrak

"I'm totally not scared by him," LeFrak said on "Squawk Box," adding sarcastically that Trump has had the nuclear codes for a few days and "hasn't blown up North Korea yet or anything."

"He's got more good sense than ... some people give him credit for," said LeFrak. "He didn't get where he got by being silly or stupid. He's a very shrewd guy."

"Being president is a brand new thing," LeFrak added. "You have to kind of find your way. If you read history about the presidency, who has experience doing this? Just former presidents. Nobody is prepared really to do this job."

Trump has asked LeFrak and fellow New York-based billionaire property developer Steven Roth to lead a new council to oversee the White House's proposed $1 trillion in infrastructure spending. Roth is chairman and CEO of Vornado Realty Trust.

LeFrak said he and Roth have been tasked with taking a private-industry approach to government spending to "stretch our dollars" and identify what's an "investment that has payback or pork."