Linda McMahon’s appointment as head of the Small Business Administration is not only an embarrassment but a slap in the face to small businesses in America.
In this world of fake news dominating social media, when I awoke in the middle of the night and saw something saying that Donald Trump had nominated Linda McMahon as the head of the United States Small Business Administration, I thought it a joke. I went back to sleep, peacefully, unable to grasp the severity of what I had just read.
Just this summer, I had the pleasurable opportunity to attend the National Urban League Conference and hear the current head of the SBA, Maria Contreas-Sweets, speak. Contreas-Sweets is not only a minority but a very prominent small business owner herself. Over the years she has launched three successful small businesses including ProAmerica Bank in California, a commercial bank focusing on small to mid-sized businesses with a specialty in the Latino community. She also co-founded and was the president of Fortius Holdings, a private equity firm that provided capital to small California businesses.
Before being appointed the Administrator of the Small Business Administration, Contreas-Sweets served as the California Secretary of Business, Transportation, and Housing. Contreas-Sweets often tells of her grandmother hoping she would be able to get a good job “as a secretary” one day. She is a true story of inspiration for small business owners everywhere, surpassing her grandmother wishes for her in an epic way.
Additionally, Contreas-Sweets founded Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE). An organization aimed to provide political education of Hispanic women so that they can improve the communities in which they live for the betterment of all.
Contreas-Sweets will be leaving her position in January 2017 as the Trump administration takes over the White House. Who did Donald Trump tap to follow in the footsteps of this great small business leader and partner? Former WWF CEO and Co-Founder, Linda McMahon. Yes, that Linda McMahon, wife of pro wrestling CEO Vince McMahon.
When I was a teenager Linda McMahon was a joke to me. I grew up watching her parade around on television in obviously choreographed stunts on WWF and later WWE shows. Don’t get me wrong, I recognize that Linda McMahon is the co-founder of what they like to call a small business that grew like wildfire. Let’s be real, Vince McMahon, Linda’s husband worked for his dad, who first owned the wrestling company. He bought the company from his father and continued to build it over the years.
Meanwhile, Linda gained a bachelor degree in French and was accredited to teach in the late 60’s. McMahon then went to work as a receptionist and trained as a paralegal at a law firm. She later joined her husband’s company and was given first the title of President in 1993 and then CEO in 1997.
She worked in her husband’s “family business” until she decided to make a political run in 2009. The family business also included her son Shane, daughter Stephanie and even son-in-law, Paul Levesque, better known as Triple H.
Linda McMahon has made two unsuccessful runs for senate in Connecticut, spending $100 Million of her own money during her campaigns. Outside of her failed senate runs, McMahon’s only experience in the political arena is a brief stint as a member of the Connecticut State Board of Education in 2009. McMahon resigned from the board in April 2010 because state law did not allow members to solicit campaign contributions.
There’s more than one way to skin a cat. $100 Million in Connecticut could not get McMahon on the U.S. Senate but maybe her “charitable contributions” and connections did. I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised to find out that between 2007 and 2009 the McMahon’s were one of the biggest supporters of Donald Trump charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation. The couple donated a total of $5 million in the two-year time period.
Earlier today, an article on Politico claimed that Linda McMahon donated $6 Million to a pro-Trump super PAC run by Florida Governor, Rick Scott, naming the Federal Election Commission records as it’s source. The link to an article referenced in the article I read is now no longer active. I took a screen shot of the Politico article.
Charitable donations are not McMahon’s only connection to President-Elect Trump. The two have done business together many times over the years. In 1988 and 1989, WWE’s WrestleMania IV and WrestleMania V tournaments were held at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Almost 20 years later, the two teamed up again as Donald Trump and Vince McMahon squared off in a “Battle of Billionaires” at WrestleMania 23 in 2007. In 2013, Trump was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
In September of this year, Linda McMahon told members of the Associated Press, “Once you’re his friend, he is loyal to the end. He’s an incredibly loyal, loyal friend”, speaking of Donald Trump. If I didn’t know better I’d say she knew she had finally found her sure way into office. Why would I think that she bought her way into a position, though? It’s not like any politician has ever done that before. It’s amazing, though, that someone who can’t even get elected in their own state, who has no real political experience can be tapped to run such an important branch of the American government. Oh wait, that describes the majority of Donald Trump’s cabinet picks.
The new head of the SBA is worth 1.5 Billion according to Forbes. The Small Business Administration support the 28 million small businesses in America by providing counseling, guaranteeing loans to small business owners, ensuring 23 percent of federal contracts go to small businesses and serving as an advocate for Main Street in Washington. The Agency oversees the world’s largest seed fund and the largest middle market fund of funds, as well as a $120 billion loan portfolio. It also directs the world’s largest business counseling network and one-quarter of the federal procurement activity to small businesses.
Donald Trump is handing this great responsibility over to a woman who has worked for her family business for 20 years. A woman who is married to a billionaire and who herself owns $84 million in WWE stock. A woman with relatively no political experience.
As a small business owner, I’m mortified because I use many resources regularly through the SBA like the Women’s Business Center. I know how important the SBA is not only to small business but to minority and women business owners.
As an American, I’m embarrassed. I can’t imagine how people around the world are looking at us. The name Linda McMahon automatically conjures the image of bare-chested, men in bikini briefs throwing each other around, steroid abuse scandals, and wrestlers dying tragically and without proper medical treatment.
The idea that the woman who paraded across my television involved in stupid plots that included “bitch slaps” and family drama running a branch of government that directly affects My life, makes me shudder. But hey, the guy who trademarked “You’re Fired” is my next president.
America really has become a reality show. God help us all.
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