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Americans must demand Congress work with Trump: Former McDonald's CEO

  • "All of our citizens better wake up and get smart fast because this country is tearing itself apart," former McDonald's CEO Ed Rensi told CNBC.
  • He said Americans must demand that the leaders in the House and Senate come together and support Trump and if they can't support him then tell him what they think he needs to do.

Americans need to step up the pressure on Congress to "turn this mess around," former McDonald's CEO Ed Rensi told CNBC on Friday.

"All of our citizens better wake up and get smart fast because this country is tearing itself apart," he said in an interview with "Closing Bell."

"We must demand that the leaders in the House, the leaders in the Senate come together and support Trump and if they can't support him they need to be strong and tell him what they think he needs to do."

On Friday, more drama came from the White House when it was announced that chief strategist Steve Bannon was leaving the administration. The move was cheered by Wall Street, which had been fearful about the possible departure of President Donald Trump's top economic aide, Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive. Bannon had battled with Cohn and others in the administration.

The news followed the week-long firestorm surrounding Trump's controversial comments on the deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Corporate executives left his side, business councils were disbanded, and bipartisan political criticism was swift. All that fueled concerns about the future of the president's pro-growth agenda.

Rensi said congressional lawmakers were only interested in one thing — getting re-elected.

"They're not really so interested in you, me or this country as they are in self-preservation," he said.

He also had advice for Trump, who he said is not going to be easy to deal with.

"He's very focused on what he thinks is right, not what you think is right, and he's going to have to learn how to listen. He doesn't listen very well, most of the time."

— CNBC's Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.