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Rep. Michael McCaul on Air Force general's prediction of war with China: 'I hope he's wrong. ... I think he's right'

The GOP chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee weighed in on Gen. Mike Minihan's memo to officers, which predicts Washington will be at war with Beijing in 2025.
Rep. Mike McCaul
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, speaks at a hearing in Washington on April 28.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images file

A top congressional Republican said Sunday he agrees with a four-star Air Force general’s memo predicting the U.S. will be at war with China in two years.

In the memo, sent Friday and obtained by NBC News, Gen. Mike Minihan, the head of Air Mobility Command, wrote: “I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me will fight in 2025.”

Asked to weigh in on the prediction in an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, said: “I hope he’s wrong, as well. I think he’s right, though, unfortunately."

McCaul also accused the Biden administration of “projecting weakness” on the world stage and argued that there are “very high” odds of war with China because of it.

Later on “Fox News Sunday,” Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., a ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, pushed back against the prediction, saying that although “anything is possible," he is “really worried when anyone starts talking about war with China being inevitable.”

“I want to be completely clear. It’s not only not inevitable; it’s highly unlikely,” Smith said. “Generals need to be very cautious about saying we’re going to war.”

The Defense Department has also distanced itself from Minihan’s comments, saying they “are not representative of the department’s view on China.”

Air Mobility Command, which has nearly 50,000 service members and nearly 500 planes, is responsible for transportation and refueling. The signed memo was addressed to all air wing commanders in Air Mobility Command and other Air Force operational commanders.

In his memo, Minihan instructed the officers he commands to get ready to prep by firing “a clip” at a target and “aim for the head.” He said that because both Taiwan and the U.S. will have presidential elections in 2024, the U.S. will be “distracted” and Chinese President Xi Jinping will have an opportunity to move on Taiwan.

Minihan outlined his goals for preparing, including building “a fortified, ready, integrated, and agile Joint Force Maneuver Team ready to fight and win inside the first island chain.” 

The memo also orders all air wing commanders to report all major efforts to prepare for the China fight to Minihan by Feb. 28.