It’s no secret that WWE has ties to Republican politics. Quite the opposite in fact, since the current President of the United States is in the WWE Hall of Fame. Not only are Vince McMahon and Donald Trump old friends, but Vince’s wife Linda McMahon is a former member of the Trump Administration and currently runs a SuperPAC in support of the President and his reelection bid this year. So it’s no great surprise when a Republican like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declares WWE an essential business, allowing them to keep broadcasting live shows from that state despite the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.
However, it’s starting to sound like there may be a more direct connection than that. Orlando-based journalist Stephanie Coueignoux pointed out on Twitter that Linda McMahon’s aforementioned SuperPAC, promised to spend 18.5 million dollars in Florida, which ought to give the economy there a significant boost. They announced the spending plan as part of a larger effort in multiple battleground states, but the amount going to Florida is more than twice as much as they’re spending in any other state.
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
That announcement came on April 9th, which is the same day that Governor DeSantis amended his stay-at-home order to establish that “pro sports” including WWE are essential businesses and can remain open. The very next day, WWE declared their intention to return to live TV. There is no direct evidence of a specific quid pro quo here, nor does Coueignoux claim that there is, but it’s certainly interesting timing.