In the days following the election, veteran broadcaster Ernie Johnson sat behind the desk on the set of Inside the NBA for TNT and admitted something surprising — he was rooting for Donald Trump even though he didn’t vote for him.

In a poignant two-minute segment that went viral the instant it was shared on social media, Johnson admitted he was so discouraged by the heated rhetoric and negative tone of the presidential campaign that he couldn't bring himself to vote for either Trump or his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Instead, for the first time in 42 years of going to the polls, he hit the write-in button and voted for Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Despite the negative tone of the campaign, Johnson was encouraged after watching Trump and President Obama's meeting in the Oval Office, and turned to his faith as a Christian in an attempt to explain how he, like many viewers, was still trying to cope with the election.

"I was hopeful and I was encouraged that there will be a difference between President Trump and Campaigning Trump," Johnson said. "I'm praying for America, and I'm praying that one day we'll look back and we're going to say, 'You know what, that Donald Trump presidency… it was all right.' "

Aside from a few fleeting moments, Trump has largely remained in campaign mode, blasting critics on Twitter and questioning the legitimacy of the press, federal judges and even President Obama.

So does Johnson still have optimism that Trump can become the president he was hopeful for in the days following the election?

"Am I still hopeful? Yeah, I'm still hopeful," Johnson said during a CBS-Turner press event earlier this week. "It wouldn't say much about me if I gave up after 40 days."

Johnson said the reaction to his comments has been overwhelming. Nearly two months later, people still stop him at airports or in hotels to thank him for speaking to their frustration and feelings about the election. He's also been pleasantly surprised that so many viewers have responded so positively to the inclusion of his own personal religion in his comments about Trump.

"I understand any time you mention Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Jesus Christ in the same two minutes, people are going to talk," Johnson said. "But the only way I could honestly explain how I was processing the election was through the lens of my faith."

Many hosts, shows and athletes have grappled with the idea of mixing politics and sports. But Johnson thinks he and co-hosts Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal have built up enough equity among their viewers that their show doesn't have to stick to the script about whatever game is coming up next.

"When the most astonishing election result in our lifetime comes up, if we don't talk about it, we wouldn't be human," Johnson said. "Do you think we're going to ignore that and say, 'We've got the Bulls and the Bucks coming up?' Of course we're going to talk about it."

While he may still be hopeful that Trump can become a successful president that unifies the country, Johnson does have one suggestion for the commander-in-chief.

"If I could change one thing that I've seen, I'd tell the president to give Twitter a rest," Johnson said, noting he wakes up in the morning and worries about what Trump is going to say next.

"We have enough people that are at each other's throats and in each other's faces," Johnson said. "We don't need that coming from the top office in the land, too."