ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - A fringe effort to rename the city of St. Louis has attracted President Donald Trump's interest and he's hoping Gov. Mike Parson won't let it happen.
On Tuesday, Trump asked Parson at a White House event on reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic: "You won’t be changing the name St. Louis, will you?"
"No, we will not be doing that," Parson replied.
"Thank you. Thank you. That’s very important. Thank you very much," Trump said.
An online petition started three weeks ago hopes to change the name of St. Louis and take down a statue of its namesake, Saint Louis IX in Forest Park. The creators say the city's name is "outright disrespect" to Jewish and Muslim residents and they're asking for support.
Louis IX is the only king of France to be canonized in the Catholic Church. The devoted Catholic once ordered the burning of some 12,000 manuscript copies of the Talmud and other Jewish books.
A group of local Catholics are pushing back against the call for the statue's removal, with prayer sessions happening on a nightly basis.
One of the gatherings turned violent, as pictures circulated through social media showing an older man being hit on the head by at least one suspect and another striking a victim with a stick. St. Louis police say detectives have compiled evidence from multiple places in an effort to identify and locate victims and suspects involved in this incident.
"We want to reopen the schools," Trump said. "Everybody wants it. The moms want it, the dads want it, the kids want it. It’s time to do it."