This post was updated at 5:12 p.m. ET
Linda McMahon, the co-founder of the pro-wrestling enterprise World Wrestling Entertainment, was selected Wednesday by President-elect Donald Trump to head the Small Business Administration.
In a statement released by the Trump transition team, Trump called McMahon “one of the country’s top female executives” and said she would help push his “America First” agenda forward. He added:
“She helped grow WWE from a modest 13-person operation to a publicly traded global enterprise with more than 800 employees in offices worldwide. Linda is going to be a phenomenal leader and champion for small businesses and unleash America’s entrepreneurial spirit all across the country.”
McMahon never has held elective office; the Connecticut Republican ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010 and 2012, but lost in the general election both times. McMahon spent about $100 million of her own fortune on the campaigns — about double what Trump spent on his presidential run.
As The Washington Post reported in October, McMahon was one of Trump’s “biggest outside benefactors” — though she has not held back from slamming him on his derogatory comments toward women.
In an interview with Yahoo News, McMahon said she had faith in Trump’s ability to run the country, but that his past comments were “objectionable.”
” ‘Those [comments] were just over the top; they were deplorable, objectionable absolutely,’ McMahon said. ‘He’s not helping, certainly, to put women in the best light. Maybe he regrets them, maybe he doesn’t. I realize he punches hard when he punches back, but that’s just over the top. I wish that no candidate would make those comments.’ ”
McMahon now would run Trump’s SBA, which helps with training and financial backing for small firms. The Small Business Administration is a Cabinet-level position, which means McMahon will have to be confirmed by the Senate.