"The secretary has been very clear he intends to stay here at the state department", Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert said Tuesday.
"So, he's entitled to take a few days himself".
The difference of opinion has been most evident in Trump and Tillerson's views on the ongoing diplomatic fallout between the Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
"I don't know what is standard for secretaries of state", Nauert said. CNN said that among Tillerson's growing differences with the White House were fresh debate over Iran policy and the process of naming White House personnel, as well as Trump's chaotic and confusing foreign policy approach.
Despite all the allegations, however, Tillerson said Wednesday that his relationship with Trump was "good".
"He does, however, serve at the pleasure of the president just as any Cabinet official would", she added.
Tillerson spoke briefly with reporters before heading into a meeting with Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani in Washington. Qatar has still not fully solved its dispute with its neighbors, Israel is in the midst of controversy amid mass protests from Palestinians, North Korea has threatened a nuclear strike on the United States - only a few of the major world issues now ongoing. "If that's what they want to do, fine: Someone will fix in a couple years, but in the meantime we're going to lose a lot of ground".
"As long as there are rogue regimes pursuing nuclear weapons or terrorists seeking safe haven the secretary will remain on the job", Hammond told Buzzfeed News on Monday.
Tillerson isn't the only one taking time off. Secretary of Defense James Mattis is also out this week - according to the Pentagon, he is away on "personal travel".