Twice-defeated U.S. Senate candidate and former wrestling executive Linda McMahon was nominated Wednesday by President-elect Donald Trump to head the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“Linda is going to be a phenomenal leader and champion for small businesses and unleash America’s entrepreneurial spirit all across the country,” Trump said in a statement announcing the nomination Wednesday.
McMahon, a 68-year-old Republican who met with Trump on Nov. 30 in New York, said on her Facebook page that she is “honored and humbled” by the nomination. “As an entrepreneur myself, I have shared the experiences of our nation’s small business owners and will do my best to advocate on their behalf.”
McMahon, who stepped down as CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment in Stamford in 2009 to run for the U.S. Senate, helped grow that company from a modest 13-person operation to a publicly traded enterprise with more than 800 employees.
McMahon will still have to be confirmed by the Senate’s Small Business Committee.
The SBA administers loan guarantees to small businesses that often struggle to obtain financing through other means.
McMahon spent about $100 million on her two failed attempts to win one of Connecticut’s U.S. Senate seats in 2010 and 2012. She has known Trump for about 25 years. They met at a Rolling Stones concert, according to an interview she gave earlier this year on WFSB’s “Face the State” program.
McMahon, who also attended the Republican National Convention as a Trump delegate, also gave about $6 million to a pro-Trump PAC.
Over the past two years, McMahon has been running an organization called Women’s Leadership LIVE. The company uses live events and ongoing mentorships to educate and inspire women to launch and expand their own businesses, advance their careers toward executive roles, and pursue opportunities for leadership in public service.
Last March, McMahon was critical of Trump’s statements about women. She called them “deplorable” and “objectionable.”
McMahon’s husband, Vince, is one of only about 40 people Trump follows on Twitter.