Donald Trump's rhetoric against Islam is calculated to spur Middle Eastern governments to do more to combat extremism in their own countries, according to Thomas Barrack, a 35-year friend and business associate of Trump's who is the grandson of Lebanese immigrants.
"This idea of Islam -- in my mind, Donald would tell you it's not a negotiating tactic, but in my mind as someone who deals with them every day, it is a pretty good negotiating tactic," said Barrack, a billionaire Los Angeles real-estate investor who is scheduled to speak at the Republican convention in Cleveland later this week.
Last December, Trump called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" and last month modified the plan to target only immigrants from areas with a "proven history of terrorism."
"It's the way he negotiates everything," Barrack continued in a Bloomberg Television interview with Erik Schatzker on Monday. "It's the same with Mexico. Mexico has the same issues with us on NAFTA. They have the same issues with us on the border. Are they really going to pay for a wall? I doubt they would be very supportive of that."
Trump has called for the construction of a wall on the U.S.'s 1,000-mile-long border with its southern neighbor, and said that Mexico would pay for it.
Remarks like those are intended to shake up the status quo, Barrack said.
"All these positions are saying, look -- the posture of what's been is not working. We need something different."