tv Conversation with SBA Administrator Linda Mc Mahon CSPAN September 3, 2017 12:15pm-12:52pm EDT
not believe that. but when they see the president on camera at the rallies is what we see in the oval office is what we see in the signing see will be doing today. there is only one donald trump and i'm glad he is president of , the united states. host: mick mulvaney, thanks for your time. >> now, c-span's profile interview with linda mcmahon, administrator for the small business administration. this is just over 30 minutes. steve: linda mcmahon, let's begin where your story begins, growing up in north carolina. an only child? ms. mcmahon: an only child. that is right. my parents realized they had perfection, and they stopped. [laughter] steve: what role did that have shaping your political views and ideology? ms. mcmahon: not so much my political views, but my parents were honest, hard-working people. who were employees at cherry point airbase. we lived about 15 miles from the airbase.
both my mom and dad worked there. i had a fantastic upbringing and childhood. my paternal grandmother lived with us most of my life. so i had that dual advantage of having an older person's perspective, as well as having my parents' perspective. steve: i read that you were a tomboy? ms. mcmahon: i was a tomboy, yes. i guess i still am a tomboy. i still like to play sports. i played baseball with the boys at recess. i could never jump rope. it was something i could not do. the girls seemed to be very involved in jumping rope. since i was my father's son and my mother's daughter, i learned how to play baseball and basketball. and yet, i would come into the house, my mom would show me how to set the table and cook and do the things that she did after she came home from her job as a budget analyst. steve: and your mom is still alive? ms. mcmahon: my mom is still alive. she is 90 years old, and she has been one of the greatest role models in my life. steve: can you recall the best advice she has ever given you?
ms. mcmahon: my mom always just with me to be yourself. she said just, always do your , best, but be yourself, regardless of what company you are in. because if you try to be somebody you are not, you will be perceived as the phony you are trying to represent. steve: you met your husband when you were in high school, correct? ms. mcmahon: actually, yes. just barely in high school. i was 13, and he was 16. steve: what did your parents think? ms. mcmahon: well, meeting him was one thing. [laughter] i said hello to him. i met him in church. we did not date for another couple years. but i met him when i was 13 and he was 16. steve: did he come to your house often? ms. mcmahon: sometimes? not a lot. after we started dating, he would come for sunday dinner. that sort of thing to meet my parents. he loved my mom and dad. and they loved him. steve: how did that evolve? ms. mcmahon: it evolved, because, in the summers, primarily, we would see each other.
when we first said hello and met, he was a fish been, and so he was just visiting his mother, who lived in my hometown. and then when he started college and i was still in high school, we would see each other every other weekend. and as our relationship got more serious, we would see each other every weekend. he would hitchhike from east carolina university back to new bern, and we would see each other over the weekend. steve: and you finished college in three years? ms. mcmahon: i did. steve: but before that you got married? ms. mcmahon: right out of high school, i got married. i graduated in june. we got married in august. vince was already at east carolina. i started my freshman year at east carolina. it took him a little longer to graduate. it took me a little less time. so, we finished together. steve: what were you thinking, i assume 17, 18-years-old, getting married? ms. mcmahon: 17, yes. it was just a time of falling
madly in love with someone, having a soul mate, and having confidence that you were just going to make all of that work never thinking you wouldn't. , steve: you have been married how many years now? ms. mcmahon: this august will be 51. steve: what is the secret? ms. mcmahon: a sense of humor. first of all, you have to find the right mate. so i found the right guy. and, you have to be able to laugh at yourself. and the greatest thing is you have to have separate bathrooms. [laughter] steve: why? ms. mcmahon: if you need to ask me "why," you do not understand that whole process. [laughter] but it made you blush. [laughter] steve: you came to the d.c. area after college to do what? i. mcmahon: well, vince and moved to washington -- actually, outside washington in gaithersburg, maryland. i was then pregnant with our first child. i found out the day before graduation that we were expecting our first child. very untimely. we certainly had not planned on that. and i just -- vince's parents
lived here, his father and his stepmother lived here. and so we moved to be closer to them, and to look at job opportunities, which we felt would be greater than where we were in north carolina. steve: how much was in your checking account at the time? ms. mcmahon: very little. [laughter] very, very little. i think we hardly had enough to rent the u-haul to put our stuff in to move it up to gaithersburg. steve: so, walk us through how the wrestling enterprise began for you and your husband. ms. mcmahon: well, my husband is third-generation in this particular industry. his grandfather dabbled a bit in professional wrestling. his fatherm then, was much more involved, and actually right here in washington. the name of the company was called capital wrestling corporation. it was located at 1332 i street. the building is not there, the old franklin park hotel. my father-in-law's office was in the franklin park hotel. he pretty much produced
television here in washington, d.c., and it was syndicated up to bangor, maine and as far west , i believe, as youngstown, ohio. that was sort of the territory of wrestling at that particular time. vincent loved it. i think it was in his blood. that was all he ever wanted to do, though he did dabble in a couple other things before he became an on-air personality for capital wrestling. steve: before you met him, had you ever gone or even thought about wrestling or gone to a match? ms. mcmahon: i had been to a match with my father when i was about 10-years-old, because my father was a shriner in north carolina. one of the fundraisers for the shriner organization was a professional wrestling event. and gorgeous george was one of the wrestlers. so i had actually been with my father to a wrestling event. steve: where do they come up with the names? ms. mcmahon: well, they are very creative. they have very creative thoughts.
they know how to really live in the character, and it is fun. steve: your son-in-law is known as -- ms. mcmahon: triple h. he started with that name when he was wrestling with another organization. his first characterization was this very, you know, rich aristocrat. so hunter hearst hemsley was his name. steve: do you call him triple h? ms. mcmahon: no, i call him paul. [laughter] steve: but it is a family business for your son and daughter, correct? ms. mcmahon: yes. my daughter is the chief brand officer for wwe. my son is a performer for wwe. and triple h is the executive vice presidents in charge of talent development. steve: one of the issues you had to deal with is the use of drugs during some of these matches. was it used? had it been used in your tenure? ms. mcmahon: i will tell you what we did. we put together one of the most
comprehensive health and wellness policies at wwe, and i was very involved in getting that done. we had a very stringent drug testing policy. but it is really more about health and wellness. because when you are performing in the ring at wwe, you are literally putting your life in someone else's hands. those moves can be dangerous. you have to learn, you have to be seasoned, you have to be professional at what you are doing. so we want to make sure that not only are you physically fit, but that you are mentally ready when you get into the ring. steve: it is a sport. so in any sport, how do you advise the athletes, or in your case, the wrestlers, not to indulge in that? ms. mcmahon: while they are athletes, they are also entertainers. so much more goes into a wwe match than an actual sporting event. but our goal has always been to make sure that our performers were held the and that their well-being was looked after while they were in the ring.
steve: how did your work there train you for your job here? ms. mcmahon: well we grew wwe , from its very beginnings up until taking it to a company on the new york stock exchange. so, growing each aspect of that business. and when vince and i first started out, we shared a desk. so when trump asked me to serve as the small business administrator, he knew i knew what it was like to build a business from the ground up, to scale it, grow it, and even take it globally and then public. steve: when did you first meet donald trump? ms. mcmahon: i can't remember the exact year. i think it was in -- i would really be guessing. i think it was around the early to mid-1980's. and he had invited us to be his guest at a rolling stones concert. so we went and sat outside in the stadium and had a great time. steve: but among the cabinet
members, you, i think, have had the longest relationship with the president over the years. ms. mcmahon: i think that is true. we met him early on. we have kept the relationship. he has performed, actually, in a couple of wwe events. and he is -- this is a unique fact -- he is the only president of the united states to ever have been inducted into the wwe hall of fame. steve: how did that all come about? ms. mcmahon: because we -- always, each year we typically , induct a celebrity who has performed, at some point during the year, as well as for those veteran performers who have been at wwe. so he was one that was selected. steve: is donald trump the trump, the person and the friend to you, different than the donald trump the public sees on television? ms. mcmahon: i have known the president for about 25 years, and i can tell you what he has always been to vince and me. he has always been a loyal and trusted friend.
and he is a very smart businessmen. i have watched him grow his business. his sense of marketing and promotion is very keen. we always enjoyed working with him. steve: the mission of the sba is what? ms. mcmahon: is to make sure that we are providing the right kind of tools and environment so our entrepreneurs can start businesses or grow their businesses. by doing that, they are creating jobs and adding to the economy. i certainly appreciate the fact -- i am sure your viewers do as well -- this president has an appreciation for the fact that small businesses are the backbone and the engine of our economy. steve: what are the biggest obstacles for any entrepreneur who wants to start a business? what advice do you give them, and what are some of the pitfalls? ms. mcmahon: i can tell you what i have heard, even before i came to sba. i campaigned for the senate in connecticut in 2010 and 2012. and i toured small businesses all over the state of
connecticut. what i heard from them is the same thing i am hearing today. access to capital. the regulatory environment. taxes. and health care. those are the things that, for businesses, especially already in place, those are the things that are being the most difficult still to deal with. entrepreneurs who want to start their businesses, which is one place where sba is right in the forefront of, to give advice, they need access to capital. you've got to have good capitalization to start a company. but what i have found at sba is that the general public, or small businesses at large, don't really know all the sba has to offer. yes, you think about loans. when you think about sba. we guarantee loans, we don't make the loans ourselves. and we help make loans available to those folks who would not be able to get them under ordinary circumstances by the guarantee that is put behind them.
we have the opportunity to help entrepreneurs get capital. we also offer them counseling. we have programs through our women's business centers, through our score programs, where retired executives or executives who are not retired will donate their time to meet with young arch burners to help them with their marketing plans, their web designs, just give them some general overall advice, which sometimes is -- this may not be a great business, and you ought to step back and think about that. when we get to the counseling part, another aspect of what sba can do is help young entrepreneurs that have goods and services that they can sell to the government, help them put together those contracts. uncle sam is the biggest purchaser of good and services in the world. if we can get young businesses
involved in doing that, it helps them be able to grow. that helps grow the economy. the one aspect of sba i was not aware about until about two days before my confirmation hearing was the whole disaster relief program in the united states comes under sba. through have helped you cash and counseling and contracts, we also have the ability -- for instance, sandy or katrina or the terminators and storms you're hearing about today or other economic impacts -- have the ability to go in and then help those victims of disaster. it is the only time sba gets involved in home mortgages. --ause this affidavit disaster victims can only lose their businesses, they can lose their homes. we want to help them get back on their feet. the sooner they can get back on their feet, the sooner they are conjured into the economy.
steve: what are some of the business mistake -- what are some of the biggest mistakes someone makes when trying to start a business? ms. mcmahon: the biggest mistake i always find young arch burners can make is under capitalization. and the management of cash flow. biggest issuese when you are starting out. things can be going along in a rosy fashion. you could be providing those services you that you could provide, and suddenly, something happens and it dries up. you have not managed to your cash very well. and i think, too, when young entrepreneurs start a business, often, they are the ceo and the janitor. they are trying to do too many things at the same time. i once counseled a young woman's outing her business. she said it is so expensive to have someone doing the billing, so i will do the billing at night. i said, no.
she was a physical therapist. i said you make your money with your hands. you hire someone else to answer the phones and do the bookkeeping. because in the long run, that money will really come back to you in spades. steve: what were the biggest challenges for you and your husband, when you were starting the wrestling federation? ms. mcmahon: we were growing a business and growing and industry. it was a great opportunity for us. but the challenge was just how do you scale? where do you go from being in the territory that you are in already? so we then moved across the country to develop markets and grow from just a northeastern regional business to a national and international business. we were very fortunate. a little lady left is also part, i think, of what entrepreneurs
can often experience to help them grow. so we had a good opportunity with good vision. vince is the creative genius behind wwe, and his creative vision and sense of marketing is really what pushed the market to growth. steve: how big was cable in the growth of your sport and entertainment? ms. mcmahon: cable was very big. at the time that we first started, the primary way that you saw a wwe program, at the time, wwf programming, was through syndication. for anybody who goes back that far in television, you know we had a show on one week that went to the next market that went to the next market that went to the next market. so, however many television stations you are on, that was the link to what you were on. television cable, though, particularly u.s. television cable, was the first major national reach that we had, and
it cut across all of those markets much more efficiently and gave us the opportunity to expand. steve: if the husband was the visionary, what were your responsibilities? ms. mcmahon: i originally was the ceo of the company. for a lot of the strategic planning, most of the administrative functions came to me. hr, finance, operational issues, and then, i often said, you know, i have hitched my wagon to a star. no, someone said did you hitch your wagon to a star? i said, no, i hitched mine to a rocket ship, and it was going full throttle all the time. often, someone who has great vision needs those people who can execute. so my job was to make sure we can execute on those visions. that was through contracts, it was through television negotiations, it was going into the world of licensing, all of the aspects to really make them
work and gel together fell under me. steve: so, for your son shane and daughter stephanie, did they come by it naturally? did you tell them this was a good business opportunity? ms. mcmahon: they both just really enjoyed watching and seeing how the business developed. and they worked summers at wwe. i think stephanie worked as a receptionist at one time, and then she worked in other areas. shane was on the road. he became a performer, but he also did referee work. but when he first started, he was traveling. trucks,f the ring crew putting up the ring, taking it down. and his very first time in the business, was working in the warehouse, where all of the t-shirts and all of that were stopped, and he had to keep the -- sweep floors and keep things clean and t-shirts folded. each of them really learned the business from the ground up. steve: early in your career, did
your parents ever ask what kind of business model is this? ms. mcmahon: they were just happy that we were happy end of we were growing. but early on, vince and i went bankrupt. it was not a result of the wrestling industry. it was a result of us investing with a couple of partners who turned out not to be quite what we thought. we signed them some notes, and then we were the only ones left holding the note. we tried a long time to pay it off, and finally, we could not do it anymore. we declared bankruptcy. our home was auctioned off. my car was repossessed in the driveway, and i was pregnant with our second child. those were tough times. so when i talk to young entrepreneurs, and i talk to them about managing downside risk, managing their cash flow, that is something i have been through. steve: we should point out amtrak is not too far from here in washington.
[laughter] ms. mcmahon: also, i know when our commuters are coming in and out to go to work. [laughter] steve: let me turn to your two races for the senate. i think i read that, in total, about $100 million spent in those campaigns. ms. mcmahon: yes. steve: what does that tell you about the state of american politics? ms. mcmahon: i'm not sure it tells you about the state of american politics. i was a total unknown. so a lot of the money was really spent in introducing me to the public. and in connecticut, you are right on the new york border, where all of the ad time that you are buying is incredibly expensive, because you are buying it from the new york market. not so much for the rest of the state, but in that part of the state. the time buy was very expensive. so we had an all in commitment to the campaign. and that is where -- of the way we operated both of them. steve: you lost both races.
what did you learn from that? ms. mcmahon: i learned it was very difficult to run as a republican and win in connecticut. i enjoyed listening to people. i enjoyed the campaign trail. i was listening to the issues and problems they were having. i think it prepared me much for this job today, because, as i said, i toured over 300 businesses in connecticut, from just mom-and-pops to manufacturing companies in connecticut, and i learned about lean manufacturing. i learned so many things about the state of different kinds of businesses. and i love business. i just love business. and so, i was able to bring that perspective from the political side to sba, as well as the knowledge of what many small businesses were going through. and large businesses. not just small, but large businesses as well. steve: having been in this town several months now, why is
bipartisanship or compromise so hard to come by in today's environment? ms. mcmahon: i think we really just ought to focus more on lack of -- [laughter] let me try that again. we just need to focus on coming together, so we can pass more legislation. the rancor that you hear today, i think, is unnecessary. the one thing i like and especially appreciate with sba is our agency is the least partisan of any agency in washington. the small business committee and not only the house and the senate, on both sides work to , get the bills passed relative to small business. everyone wants to see the economy grow. i think there is a real effort to stimulate the growth of business so we can help the economy grow. steve: how did you personally prepare for the confirmation process?
ms. mcmahon: there are things called "murder boards," that there's a panel of questioners that are really presented questions they think will come from the hearing to make sure that you know the government side of things. i'm very confident here at sba, relative to the direction i give on business and on marketing and how we conduct things internally in the organization, but i am learning about government. that was part of what the hearing prep was about. steve: do you have a chance to talk to the president, either socially on business? ms. mcmahon: primarily when i am at the white house for a cabinet meeting. i have gone to several of the bill signings that he has done. this particular week, he had signed -- an eeo, not a bill -- an executive order relative to apprenticeships. which is something i am so passionate about as well. because as part of workforce
week, which we have been involved in all this week here in the capital, we have met with business leaders, we have met with educators. everyone has the same message. there are jobs here in america. but we do not have the skilled workforce to fill those jobs. so there was a nice dialogue there with president not addressing the cabinet but i , don't go over on a social basis to have a cup of coffee with him. steve: the president talked about trying to get 3%, 4%, 5% growth in the economy with the sba as a component. how do we get there? ms. mcmahon: we get there absolutely by growing more jobs. the more jobs we can grow, the more businesses we can start and help them succeed, the greater growth we will see in our economy. 99% of the business in this country are small businesses. there are about 29 million of them. two out of net three jobs are created by small business.
and even women businesses -- women own, now, about 36% of all small businesses, contribute about $1.4 trillion in sales to the economy each year. so if we can continue to grow those and continue to add to our economy we're going to see that , kind of growth. that is only going to come, though, i believe, if we remove some of the impediments that face small and big business relative to tax reform, health care reform, making sure they have access to capital, and we just have to continue to make sure our companies can grow. steve: so, with you here, how is the family business? ms. mcmahon: i have nothing to do with the family business. i resigned in 2009 when i ran for the senate. i resigned from the board. so i have not been back or had anything to do with wwe since 2009. steve: what do your kids think about your current job? ms. mcmahon: they are proud of
me, they tell me. family.y i think they miss me being in connecticut. and my mom is there. i go home every weekend, to visit with my family, see my grandchildren and my mom, and it's really nice to reconnect with vince on the weekends. we talk during the week, but we look forward to the weekend. steve: when you have a weekend, nothing on your schedule, what do you like to do? ms. mcmahon: my family is such a big part of what i do on the weekend. plus, i have to do those things you know you need time to do , like get your hair done, get your nails done and that kind of thing. so i spend some time doing that for it but i really like to be involved, primarily in what my family is doing. steve: any thought about what is next? would you consider running for office again? ms. mcmahon: oh, my goodness. i have only been here a blink. hopefully this is the next four years. i'm enjoying what i am doing. i don't have any plans to run
for office again. steve: finally, when people ask you about your life here in washington and working with the president, what do you tell them? ms. mcmahon: i tell them it is very exciting. when i leave my condo, coming up seeing thepark way, rowers on the potomac, and suddenly you are looking and you can see the monuments of the city, and you know you are kind of right in the pulse of government and policy, and it is fascinating and intriguing. and i am enjoying being here very much. steve: having been a receptionist in gaithersburg many years ago -- ms. mcmahon: i actually -- not to cut you off, i was a receptionist in washington. at the law firm of covington and burling. that was my first job out of college. and later, they trained me as a paralegal in the probate division. steve: so do you feel like you have come full circle? ms. mcmahon: yes. but washington is so different
then when i was here. it has grown so much. there was no metro when i was here but war. and living out in gaithersburg, it was a commute every day in and out of the city, which is pretty tough. but it was really fun and exciting, but incredibly challenging, you know, to be here and have the responsibility of an agency which the president has said can have one of the most significant impacts on the growth of the economy. when he talked to me about taking this position at trump -- i was in his office at trump tower. and just as i was leaving, he looked at me and walked me to said, i just he have one request. i said yes. he said do a good job. i told him i was going to do my best. and if my best was not good enough, he would let me know, and i would gladly step aside for someone who can do it better. he said i cannot ask for more than that. steve: by the way how many
, people work at the sba? ms. mcmahon: we have -- we are fully staffed. we are about 2100, a little over 2100. but there are people on call for disaster relief. our disaster relief headquarters is in the dallas-fort worth area. so what we have our availability trained volunteers, often, or contract employees, who come on board if we have a disaster and have to go immediately to the scene. steve: and finally, we will be following the ignite tour. ms. mcmahon: the ignite tour. if i can digress -- one of the things i found when i came to sba was i did not think the general public was aware of the services sba has. we need to revamp our marketing and our outreach. part of what that is doing is for me to go to our district offices across the country. there are 68 of them.
i made a pledge to our district directors i would visit each of their districts. during that time, i will host business roundtables. i will visit small businesses. and really integrate into the community to see what is going on and how sba can in fact that -- impact that community. we will get a lot of local press, hopefully. we will generate that and really spread the word more and more about all of the services and opportunities there are at sba. so we had our leadership conference last week with all of our district directors that were coming in. "leadership conference" sounds so boring. so i cast our folks here, and they came up with it was the "spark" leadership conference. we were having everyone in at the same time. we were going to spark their interest and enthusiasm, and we would continue with the ignite tour. so, that is where ignite came. now we are just going to set everybody a pace.
really generate excitement and enthusiasm with the ignite tour. and i start next week. and we are coming down to the end of june now. so i will be heading to las vegas, salt lake city, back here to washington. the week after that, i am going to washington, oregon, and alaska. because a lot of the senators and representatives that are on the small business committee have asked please come to my state. i want to show you what we are doing. i want to tell you how i think sba can be more effective in the community. i have made that pledge. one of them was to alaska. so i am going there. at the end of the month i will , also be going to puerto rico. steve: so you are learning along the way. ms. mcmahon: i learning along am the way. if i don't learn something every day, it's not a worthwhile day to me. i'm really enthusiastic about being out of the office and
meeting with so many people. but then, i like to come back to the office, because this is like the hub that regenerates everything. steve: linda mcmahon, we thank you for your time. ms. mcmahon: thank you. it's a pleasure. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> congress returns with a busy month. this week, the house will work on a spending package containing eight of the remaining appropriations bills for the next fiscal year. they are also excited to consider the president's request of $7.85 billion to eight in the response to hurricane -- to aid in the response to hurricane harvey. also, a measure urging the building and purchase of self driving cars. the house returns tuesday, live on c-span. the senate is also back tuesday. they will consider a judicial nomination for the district of columbia and, possibly, begin work on defense department programs and policies for next year. watch the senate live on c-span
2. words, markn "after levin on the expansion of the --eral government and how about his book, "rediscovering americanism." >> we reached the point where we cannot go back. we are overwhelmed with this progressivism notion, centralized government, phony egalitarianism. of the smothering of individualism. in ourcome so entrenched institution that there is no way to rip it out? i say this -- we have to do everything we can, confront it, debate it, explain to our federal -- fellow citizens what is taking place. we simply have no choice. >> watch "after words" tonight
at 9:00 eastern on c-span's tv. >> labor day on c-span. at 6:45 p.m. eastern, former president obama accepts the annual jfk profile encourage courage award. at 8:00, jonah goldberg. >> conservatives should not place all of their hopes in any politician. go back and read the founders. they say this over and over again. that you should have a healthy distrust of any political leader, particularly the ones that claim to be speaking for you. >> then, i 9:00 p.m. eastern, professor diane winston. >> six corporations own much of the american news media. and the digital revolution has, meanwhile, transformed in the economy. and daily newspapers no longer set our national agenda.
instead, many of us find information niches that reinforce our opinions. seemed polarization has to split us into two nations. >> watch this labor day on c-span and c-span.org, and listen on the free c-span radio app. now, a panel from the technology policy institute's annual aspen forum on whether artificial intelligence and automation are destroying or creating jobs. this is about an hour. >> ok. moving on to talk about artificial intelligence. not a day goes by where we do not see another story in the media about how artificial intelligence and automation either, one, are absolutely coming for our jobs, and you can see it already. just look at the relatively low and declining labor and