NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) – NBA analyst Ernie Johnson acknowledged Thursday night that he did not vote for Donald Trump, but added that as a Christian he is committed to praying for the president-elect and remains hopeful.
The comments by the "NBA on TNT" host quickly went viral, receiving more than 30,000 re-Tweets and 37,000 likes on the NBA on TNT Twitter feed by the end of the night.
Johnson's comments came during a pre-game segment in which he and the other panelists gave their thoughts on the election results. He is a Christian who has spoken at Fellowship of Christian Athlete events, and his own Twitter account reads, partially: "Trust God ... Period."
"When this campaign season started, I felt like I had been dealt a bad hand," Johnson said. "I had these couple of choices, and there were trust issues with Hillary Clinton I couldn't get past. And there was this inflammatory rhetoric from Donald Trump which to me was incomprehensible and indefensible. I couldn't vote for either one. For the first time in going to the polls for 42 years I hit the write-in button and I voted for John Kasich. And I left knowing that John Kasich wasn't going to win. But I left with a clear conscience."
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After watching on television Trump and President Obama meet in the White House Thursday, Johnson said he is "hopeful."
"I was hopeful and I was encouraged that there will be a difference between the President Trump and the campaigning Trump," Johnson said. "... We have to give him a chance. But here's the deal. I just hope that's he's all in -- in fixing the wounds in this country and the divides that separate this country. And I want to be part of that, too. And for me to be a part of it I have to look in the mirror and I have to say, 'How am I going to be a better man? How am I going to be a better neighbor? How am I going to be a better citizen? How am I going to be a better American? How can I be a fountain and not a drain?"
Johnson then turned to the issue of faith.
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"I never know from one election to the next who's going to be in the oval office, but I always know who is on the throne," he said. "And I'm on this earth because God created me. And that's who I answer to. I'm a Christian. I follow this guy named Jesus – you might have heard of Him.
"And the greatest commandment He gave me was to love others. And Scripture also tells us to pray for our leaders," continued Johnson. "And that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to pray for Donald Trump. I'm going to pray for all those people right now who feel like they're on the outside looking in, who are afraid at this point. ... In short, I'm praying for America. And I'm praying that one day we're going to look back and we're going to say, 'You know what? That Donald Trump presidency? That was alright.'"