“I grew up in a home where Franklin Delano Roosevelt was revered. We loved Franklin Delano Roosevelt.”

It may come off as a little odd to profess love for a U.S. president who interned over 100,000 people of Japanese descent in a room in Tokyo, to an audience made up of Japanese and Japanese American listeners. But U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel pressed on. “We loved what he did,” he said. “But this doesn’t go down as one of his great moments.”

Emanuel was speaking at a private reception in honor of Los Angeles’ Japanese American National Museum (JANM) held in his home, with reproductions of works by interned artists on display.