Former NBA star and studio analyst Charles Barkley said in an interview published Sunday he would be open to supporting some of the Republican presidential candidates in 2016.
“I am paying close attention to the political situation. I have always voted Democratic. But I like some of the Republicans this time around. I like [New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie. I like [former Florida Gov.] Jeb Bush. I like those guys,” Barkley told Sports Illustrated.
Barkley frowned upon Christie’s position on measles vaccinations when the issue surfaced earlier this month. “All I can say is we vaccinated ours,” Christie said while on a trade mission to England at the beginning of February, reported CNN.
Christie’s office clarified his position after the remarks. “To be clear: the governor believes vaccines are an important public health protection and with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated,” said Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts. “At the same time different states require different degrees of vaccination, which is why he was calling for balance in which one’s government should mandate.”
The NBA on TNT analyst expressed his discontent with Christie’s position:
I was very disappointed in Chris Christie the other day on the measles thing. It is a shame that these guys are afraid of just answering the question and trying to make everyone agree with you.
Barkley has dabbled in politics before. He explored running for governor of his home state of Alabama on two occasions: 1998 and 2014–the first time as a Republican, and the second time as a Democrat. “I was a Republican until they lost their minds,” he said in a 2006 interview.
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BCN editor’s note: This article first appeared at Western Journalism.