Here's our look at the Trump administration and the rest of Washington:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in a rare and candid moment, talks about the frustrations of his job

 (Associated Press)
(Associated Press)

His boss contradicts him. Sometimes sends him off to clean up messes. Makes him explain controversial policies.

When you have been chief executive of one of the largest companies on the planet, and suddenly you find yourself taking orders from an unpredictable politician with no government experience, it can be, well, complicated.

"Well it is a lot different than being CEO of Exxon because I was the ultimate decision-maker," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday in unusually candid comments to reporters. 

"That always makes life easier."

Tillerson was speaking to two pool reporters on a flight returning to the United States after a whirlwind of shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East -- tacked on unexpectedly to previously scheduled stops in Germany, Ukraine and Turkey. In all, he saw the capitals or major cities of six countries in about a week's time.

Tillerson spent most of his adult life as an executive at ExxonMobil, and his appointment by President Trump this year to be secretary of State was a bit of a surprise.

Did the skill sets really mesh? Some around Tillerson have complained that he still runs things as though he were a corporate titan, keeping decisions close to the vest, consulting only a narrow circle and not publicizing his moves.

Tillerson, who acknowledged being exhausted Thursday, allowed a rare glimpse into his thinking.

As a chief executive, he said, "You own it, you make the decision, and I had a very different organization around me. One that I spent my whole life with, people knew me very well and they knew what to expect.

"We had very long-standing, disciplined processes and decision-making -- I mean, highly structured -- that allows you to accomplish a lot, to accomplish a lot in a very efficient way."

Tillerson has reportedly expressed frustration privately about being cut out of some Oval Office foreign policy initiatives and of being overruled by Trump on picking his staff.

In his comments aboard his flight home, Tillerson said he did not mean to criticize the U.S. government but that, on a whole, "it's largely not a highly disciplined organization."

"Decision-making is fragmented, and sometimes people don't want to take decisions. Coordination is difficult through the interagency [process]."

And while true to some degree for every administration, he added, "You know, in all honesty, we have a president that doesn't come from the political world either.... In my old life, I spent a lot of time around the political world because I had to deal with governments all over the world.... I'm quite comfortable in these settings."

Tillerson spent much of the last week attempting to push Qatar and its neighboring Persian Gulf countries into negotiations after a Saudi-led coalition, apparently with Trump's blessing, imposed severe economic and diplomatic sanctions on the tiny gas-rich emirate. The Saudis argue that Qatar's leaders have supported militant groups.

Tillerson said he believed that, at the least, he had gotten the countries to speak to each other once again.

"Engagement with the rest of the world is actually very easy for me," Tillerson said. "None of it is new to me. It is more difficult, it is more difficult, because of just the elements we talked about."

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