Rex Tillerson

For Trump's security advisers, tempering an impetuous boss

Rex Tillerson's mission was delicate but not unfamiliar as he phoned President Donald Trump last week: Persuade the boss to curb his own impulses on yet another potentially explosive national security issue.

Trump had stormed into the new year threatening on Twitter to cut off aid to the Palestinians after little Mideast peace progress. His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, egged Trump on, pushing him to suspend all of a planned $125 million payment to the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees. Tillerson's State Department and the Pentagon sought to preserve the full amount, fearful about the implications for millions of people and U.S. partner governments in the Middle East.