In our news wrap Tuesday, President Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani traded insults over new U.S. sanctions. Rouhani called them “outrageous and idiotic” and said the White House is “afflicted by mental retardation.” Also, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan. He met with President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul and said he hopes for a peace deal by September.
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In the day's other news, President Trump and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani traded insults and tough talk over new sanctions imposed by the U.S. The targets, announced Monday, included Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is Iran's supreme leader.
Today, Rouhani called the move outrageous and idiotic. In a televised address, his audience laughed as he mocked the White House and said it is — quote — "afflicted by mental retardation."
This means the certain failure and defeat of the United States. I do not have any doubt about that from political viewpoint. No wise person would do what they are doing these days. I feel that there is a severe frustration and a big confusion among the U.S. leaders and in the White House.
President Trump, in turn, called Rouhani's remarks ignorant and insulting. In a tweet, he charged that Rouhani doesn't understand reality, and he warned that any Iranian attack would be met with — quote — "overwhelming force and obliteration."
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unannounced stop in Afghanistan today to encourage peace talks. He met with President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul. Later, he said he hopes for a peace deal with the Taliban by September 1. The current Afghan war has raged since the U.S. ousted the Taliban from power after the 9/11 attacks.
In Bahrain today, the Trump administration urged support for a $50 billion economic plan to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace. It calls for health, education and public works projects, but doesn't deal with the Israeli occupation of the West Bank or the blockade of Gaza.
President Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, argued prosperity would lead to peace.
My direct message to the Palestinian people is that, despite what those who have let you down in the past tell you, President Trump and America have not given up on you. This workshop is for you.
The vision we developed and released, if executed correctly, will lead to a better future for the Palestinian people.
In the West Bank, Palestinian protesters battled Israeli troops, while their leaders boycotted the Bahrain conference.
There can be no economic solution as a substitute to our freedom. And, second, how can we have economic development when we cannot control our borders, our import, our export, our free market, our freedom of movement? And even we do not control the taxes we pay. It's a deceit that Mr. Kushner is spreading.
American officials say they could be ready to address the political aspects of a peace plan by fall.
Europe sweltered today as a potentially historic heat wave gripped much of the continent. In Germany, zookeepers hosed down overheated elephants in Berlin, where temperatures reached 93 degrees. and authorities in France began taking steps to help the elderly cope. Temperatures in some places could reach 104 to 105 degrees this week.
Flood damage along the Mississippi River Corridor will total at least $2 billion. An advocacy group for river communities says that is expected to increase as much of the region remains well above flood stage. Heavy snowmelt and repeated rain have led to record flooding from Iowa to Louisiana since early in the year.
Back at the White House, Stephanie Grisham was named today as White House press secretary and communications director. She is the longtime spokeswoman for first lady Melania Trump. The president said Grisham will be a great fit in her new roles.
President Donald Trump:
She's here. She knows everybody. She actually gets along with the media very well, as you know. A lot of the folks in the media like her very much. And I think she's going to be fantastic. I think she's going to do a great job. So I offered her the job this morning. And she accepted.
Grisham succeeds Sarah Sanders, who is stepping down at the end of this month.
The president today awarded the Medal of Honor to a former Army staff sergeant from the Iraq War era. David Bellavia is the first living veteran of that conflict to receive the nation's highest military award. He risked his life repeatedly to save his platoon in Fallujah, in 2004.
City supervisors in San Francisco have voted to ban the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes. Today's decision makes it the first American city to take that step. Enforcement would begin early next year. San Francisco is home to Juul Labs. That is the biggest producer of e-cigarettes in the country.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said today that the Central Bank is — quote — "insulated" from short-term political pressures, despite the president's growing criticism. He also said that the Fed is grappling with whether to cut interest rates.
And on Wall Street, tech stocks led the market lower, partly on weak economic data. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 179 points to close at 26548. The Nasdaq fell nearly 121 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 28.