Obama U.N. ambassador: Trump has 'endorsed ethnic cleansing'

President Obama's former ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha PowerSamantha Jane PowerSupport swells for renaming Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma to honor John Lewis after his death 'Obamagate' backfires: Documents show Biden, Obama acted properly 'Unmaskings' may be common — and that's the problem MORE, said Thursday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary MORE had "endorsed ethnic cleansing" in comments made to White House reporters about Turkey's military action in northern Syria.

Trump told reporters earlier Thursday that the Turkish government "had to have it cleaned out." The remark referred to an area in northern Syria that is home to thousands of Kurdish civilians and some armed militia groups considered by the Turkish government to be terrorist groups. These Kurdish forces assisted a U.S.-backed coalition against ISIS.

Power responded on Twitter, calling Trump's remark a direct endorsement of "ethnic cleansing," which Turkish military forces have been accused of committing as thousands of civilians flee the conflict.

ADVERTISEMENT

The former U.N. ambassador serves as a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Law School. She has also suggested that she is considering a run for Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenTrump says government to review 5M Kodak loan deal Michelle Obama supporters urge Biden to pick former first lady as running mate On The Money: Unemployment debate sparks GOP divisions | Pandemic reveals flaws of unemployment insurance programs | Survey finds nearly one-third of rehired workers laid off again MORE's (D-Mass.) seat if Warren won the presidency in 2020.

Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the area of northern Syria has led to widespread condemnations in Washington from lawmakers in both parties. Wednesday, the House overwhelmingly passed a condemnation of the troop withdrawal supported by GOP and Democratic leaders.

The Trump administration announced Thursday that a cease-fire agreement had been reached, though the announcement did not stem the tide of criticism from Congress.