Former WWE CEO and current head of President Donald Trump's Small Business Administration, Linda McMahon, has been caught up in a minor scandal surrounding the use of government resources to promote the Trump brand.
According to Austin Evers, the director of watchdog group American Oversight, efforts of the SBA to hide Trump logos and "opulence" from a photo of McMahon speaking to a group of business owners is evidence of an attempted cover-up.
"No matter how hard they try to hide it, it's clear the administration is turning Washington into an extension of the Trump Organization," said Evers in a statement, "with cabinet secretaries playing the role of concierge to lobbyists seeking influence – all while they enrich themselves and the president's family. Linda McMahon's title may be Small Business Administrator but it's obvious which business she's most concerned about."
The photo of McMahon was posted to Twitter, after back and forth between SBA staffers to produce a suitably cropped image. "Allie, can you try to get the portrait mode one without the Trump Hotel logo?" asked staffer Roma Darivi in a text message conversation with fellow staffer Allie Schroeder obtained via a FOIA request, to which Schroeder replies, "I know. Trying to avoid it. Will try again." Darivi replies, "lols." After the photo is successfully captured, in another conversation with Darivi, a staffer named "Kate" says, "I'll tweet with excerpts from speech… and crop the opulence out." "Thanks Kate," Darivi replies.
The attempt to tone down opulence must run counter to McMahon's instincts, as her years in the professional wrestling business have emphasized larger than life characters and storylines. Like the time in 2007 when Trump, whose connections with the WWE go back decades dropped "thousands of dollars" down on the fans in an arena during an episode of Monday Night Raw.
"The fans appreciated Trump more than they appreciated Vince because I gave them a lot of money," said Trump of the event. But now, it seems, times have changed.