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

President Obama's former ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha PowerSamantha PowerSamantha Power's Herculean task: Turning a screw with a rubber screwdriver Biden taps career civil servants to acting posts at State, USAID, UN The Hill's Morning Report - Trump impeached again; now what? MORE, said Thursday that President TrumpDonald TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency 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.

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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 WarrenTim Ryan says he's 'looking seriously' at running for Portman's Senate seat Leahy, not Roberts, to preside over impeachment trial Skepticism reigns as Biden, McConnell begin new era 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.