Vince McMahon recently retired from WWE, and the professional wrestling promotion discovered a massive donation he made to Donald Trump. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the WWE board discovered that McMahon paid $5 million of around $20 million in previously unrecorded expenses to Trump's foundation from 2007 to 2009. This comes weeks after McMahon retired as CEO of WWE amid investigations into hush payments he made to former employees in relation to sexual misconduct.
The $5 million went to the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which is now dissolved. The Wall Street Journal (per CNBC) said the donations were given the two years that Trump made appearances on WWE television. Trump dissolved the foundation in 2018 as part of a settlement with the New York state attorney general's office. A lawsuit alleged Trump misused charity funds during his presidential campaign in 2016.
Trump's first appearance in WWE resulted in a $1 million fee for him and a personal contribution from the McMahons of $4 million to the foundation. The 45th President of the United States was then paid $100,000 during his second appearance while McMahon and his wife, Linda, donated $1 million to his foundation.
In January 2007, Trump appeared on WWE Raw during McMahon's "Fan Appreciation Night." He dropped tens of thousands of dollars from the rafters, leading to McMahon challenging Trump to a "Battle of the Billionaires" match at WrestleMania 23. McMahon and Trump chose their wrestlers to compete in the match. The late Umaga was chosen by McMahon while Trump selected Bobby Lashley who ended up winning the bout. As a result of McMahon losing, his head was shaved in the middle of the ring by Trump.
In June 2009, Trump returned to WWE when he purchased WWE Raw and announced that next's week show would be commercial-free. He also announced that every fan who purchased a ticket to Raw would receive a full refund. This led to McMahon buying back Raw for twice the price. Trump was inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013 by McMahon. The class included Mick Foley, Booker T, Bob Backlund Trish Stratus, and Bruno Sammartino who was the headliner. Along with appearing on WWE TV, Trump's hosted WrestleMania IV and WrestleMania V at Trump Plaza.