Donald Trump's WWE Icon Hire Raises Some Questions

December 7th 2016

A professional wrestingly icon has joined President-elect Donald Trump's administration, but there's some controversy about the choice.

Trump announced Wednesday that Linda McMahon, a former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, will lead the Small Business Administration. McMahon also ran for U.S Senate twice to represent Connecticut as a Republican candidate, according to CNN, losing both times.

In the announcement, Trump, who appeared on WWE before he was a presidential candidate, focused on McMahon's success with the company she co-founded alongside husband Vince McMahon. 

"Linda has a tremendous background and is widely recognized as one of the country's top female executives advising businesses around the globe," Trump said in a statement. "She helped grow WWE from a modest 13-person operation to a publicly traded global enterprise with more than 800 employees in offices worldwide."

Critics of Trump's choice say McMahon's money, rather than her business success, could have landed her the job. 

McMahon gave $6 million in donations over the summer to a Trump Super PAC, Rebuilding America Now. 

Some argue this is hypocrisy, or at least appears to be. In October, Trump accused Hillary Clinton of engaging in "pay for play" for accepting speaking gigs with organizations that donated to the Clinton Foundation, according to CNN. 

WWE also has a questionable record with workers' rights. 

In 2014, Oliver Bateman wrote about the WWE's labor history for Al Jazeera. Former professional wrestler and former Minnesota Governor tried to start an unsuccessful wrestler's union in the WWE,  he noted, and low-level and female wrestlers had to pay for their own work expenses. 

"Some popular performers such as John Cena and Randy Orton have been able to negotiate favorable deals with the WWE that include first-class travel arrangements and health insurance," Bateman wrote. "However, available salary data indicates that most low-level performers and members of the female Diva division operate on short-term guaranteed contracts in the mid–five figures, out of which they must pay for their travel, food and lodging." 

Past labor issues did not prove to be an obstacle to McMahon's nomination, though. If confirmed by the Senate, she will be in charge of guiding policy at the Small Business Administration and providing support to the country's 30 million small businesses.

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