Vince McMahon’s decision to go back to a live format for Raw and SmackDown came the day after Linda McMahon’s Super PAC committed $18.5 million to the state of Florida.
According to a report by Jon Alba and Stephanie Coueignoux of Spectrum News in Orlando, on April 9, Linda McMahon’s Super PAC, America First PAC, which exists to aid in the re-election of President Donald J. Trump, committed $18.5 million to Florida. That same day WWE qualified as an “essential service,” putting it on the same level as grocery stores, hospitals, banks, and other key services.
Vince McMahon then reportedly made the decision on April 10 to tape the shows live.
In defending the decision to have WWE qualified as an “essential service,” state officials told CNN that professional sports and media production is considered critical to Florida’s economy.
Linda McMahon is the wife of WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon and the former CEO of WWE. She served as the Administrator of the Small Business Administration from 2017 to 2019 under President Trump.
It should be noted that the America First Action PAC issued a statement that the money given to Florida is earmarked for advertising ($11.3 million to Orlando market and $7.2 million to Tampa market) as Florida is considered a “battleground state.”
A spokesperson for America First Action spoke to ABC about the allegations and said the ad buy was planned more than a week before the memo. They labeled any talk of impropriety as “Trump Derangement Syndrome” and said people were “looking to connect some sort of dots that simply don’t exist.”
April 9: DeSantis qualifies WWE as essential. Same day, Linda McMahon's re-elect Trump Super PAC commits $18.5 million to Florida.
April 10: Vince McMahon reportedly made decision to tape live in Orlando. https://t.co/lmyomQUmSp
— Jon Alba (@JonAlba) April 14, 2020
I have asked how @WWE is "critical to Florida's economy": no audience, only essential personnel- what revenue is being generated and if so- how is it benefiting Florida residents and taxpayers? I'm waiting on @GovRonDeSantis office to respond. @MyNews13 #n13covid19
— Stephanie Coueignoux (@StephanieCNews) April 14, 2020