President Trump sat down in a gilded chair beside President Emmanuel Macron of France on Tuesday, prepared for what has become a ritual of sorts on his home turf at the White House: He holds forth as another leader is left to smile stoically through his jokes, jabs and insults.
But Mr. Macron changed the script. By the time their 45-minute appearance at the American ambassador’s residence in London was over, the French leader had managed a rare role reversal, putting Mr. Trump on the defensive about his vision for NATO and his handling of a military conflict involving Turkey, and swatting away the president’s joke about sending Islamic State fighters from Syria to France.
“Would you like some nice ISIS fighters?” Mr. Trump said, crouching forward and claiming that “many” fighters had come from France. “I can give them to you.”
“Let’s be serious,” Mr. Macron, who sat coiled on the edge of his seat with one hand clamped firmly on his knee, replied. “The very large numbers of fighters on the ground are the fighters coming from Syria, from Iraq.”