CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts — CNN President Jeff Zucker on Friday said it was a “mistake” to air so many Trump rallies “and let them run” in 2015, giving the candidate an unfettered platform to call Mexicans rapists, support bans on Muslims from entering the US, and overall grow his base, which includes white nationalists.

“If we made any mistake last year, it’s that we probably did put on too many of his campaign rallies in those early months and let them run,” Zucker said at a talk at the Harvard Kennedy School. “Listen, because you never knew what he would say, there was an attraction to put those on air.”

Moderator Lois Romano, from the Washington Post, focused heavily on Trump’s journey to becoming the Republican nominee and CNN’s role in the election coverage.

Zucker said he has “a unique relationship” with Trump — he was president of NBC Entertainment when The Apprentice began airing — but rejected the idea that he helped Trump secure CNN coverage and the Republican nomination. He would not say whether he thought Trump was fit to be president.

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