Donald Trump has announced that the Small Business Administration will be led by Linda McMahon, wife of pro wrestling tycoon Vince McMahon.
In a statement he made yesterday, Trump said, “Linda is going to be a phenomenal leader and champion for small businesses and unleash America’s entrepreneurial spirit all across the country.”
McMahon is a co-founder of the WWE, formerly the WWF. She was a top donor during his campaign, donating six million to one of his super PACs. But she was a relatively late convert to Trumpism. During the primary, she threw her support behind the now marginalized Chris Christie. She even went so far as to call Trump’s campaign language “deplorable,” especially those she considered denigrating to women.
“Those [comments] were just over the top; they were deplorable, objectionable absolutely. He’s not helping, certainly, to put women in the best light.”
McMahon met with Trump and things seemed to go well. She said of the meeting, “We talked about business and entrepreneurs and creating jobs, and we talked about SBA.”
Despite her misgivings, McMahon now believes that he will make a capable president.
McMahon helped Vince establish the WWE as the professional wrestling world’s monolith. She was active in wrestling from 1980 to 2009, during which time the company grew to a position of near total control of the sport (or “sports entertainment,” as they call it).
Linda was President and later CEO of the WWE. She was a top business and contract negotiator, and was influential in the WWE’s merchandising push.
She is a long-time Republican. In 2009, she took a hiatus from wrestling to run for a the US Senate, competing with Richard Blumenthal for a Connecticut seat. She ran as a moderate Republican but lost to Blumenthal, a Democrat. She ran in the next election cycle, for the other Senate seat, hoping to replace Joe Liberman in 2012. But she lost again, to Democrat Chris Murphy.
If the WWE is any indicator, McMahon is possessed of good business savvy that will hopefully help her in office. The WWE is a publicly traded company that has a $1.5 billion market cap. Its programs are watched around the world. In fact, the WWE’s flagship show, Monday Night Raw, is the longest-continuously-running television program in American history.
Trump has been widely mocked for his appearances in the WWE. But the association with pro wrestling does not appear to have hurt his popularity whatsoever.