President Donald Trump has nominated Connecticut resident and former wrestling executive Linda McMahon to lead the Small Business Administration and she appeared Tuesday in Washington, D.C for a hearing on her nomination.
McMahon told the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship she is honored to be nominated and pledged to support small businesses if she is confirmed to lead the SBA.
“We can never forget that small businesses are people with goals and values that cannot be calculated just on a profit and loss statement,” McMahon said. “If I have the honor of being confirmed as the head of the SBA, I will do my best to advocate on their behalf.”
McMahon's former political rivals, Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Sen. Chris Murphy, sat on either side of her as the hearing started and introduced her to committee.
"I think she would be an excellent fit for this agency based on her experience and expertise as a business leader," Blumenthal, a Democrat, said. "I am pleased to be here to introduce her and recommend her to the committee," Blumenthal added.
In 2010, McMahon ran against Blumenthal for the U.S. Senate seat and he defeated her.
"We have known our share of differences, but I have never questioned her unwavering drive and focus," Blumenthal said. "She has used her business to help veterans and women realize their own dreams and opportunities."
Murphy, a Democrat, also recommended his "fellow Nutmegger."
In 2012, McMahon and Murphy battled it out for a U.S. Senate seat and Murphy defeated her.
"As you said, Mr. Chairman, this visual is going to be a little amusing and surprising to folks in Connecticut who watched the three of duke it out over two long Senate campaigns," Murphy said.
He added that politics can't work if political grudges never die and political adversaries have to find a way to work together after the fight is over.
"I'm here today to support Linda, not because we've magically become of one mind on how we approach every problem this country faces, but because I have confidence that she is going to give good, sound counsel to President Trump when it comes to policy affecting small businesses and I believe she has the passion for this job that's vital," Murphy said.
McMahon and her husband, Vince, founded and built World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., now a publicly traded sports entertainment company.
McMahon's daughter, Stephanie and Stephanie's husband, Paul Levesque, also known as Triple H in the wrestling world, made the trip to Washington to provide McMahon support during the hearing.
McMahon stepped down as WWE's chief executive in 2009. Last year, she launched a joint venture, Women's Leadership LIVE, which promotes opportunities for women in business and public service.
She has also become an influential Republican donor — including to the Trump campaign.
“The nomination process isn’t always a pleasant experience, so I’m glad that it sounds like this meeting’s gone well and I look forward to working with you when I anticipate you will be confirmed here fairly soon,” Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican Senator from Florida, said toward the end of the hearing.
“This has really been a good hearing, As you can see, we have a very diverse group of senators with different ideas about things, but that’s what makes America great,” U.S. Sen. James Risch, a Republican from Idaho and chairman of the committee, said. “Sen. (Jeanne) Shaheen and I have been talking about trying to move this as quickly as possible. We feel very good about being able to get you confirmed, but it’s not over ‘til it’s over.”
Trump has said McMahon shares his vision of decreasing "burdensome regulations that are hurting our middle-class workers and small businesses."
The SBA, best known for the small business loans it makes and the disaster aid it provides to companies and entrepreneurs, is also tasked with monitoring government officials' compliances with contract laws. Its budget is generally under $1 billion.