Tillerson cuts Africa trip short even as he continues to face questions about Trump

Tillerson is said to need to attend to pressing issues back in the U.S.

Tillerson faced tough questions again on Monday about the president's policies and his reported crude comments in the Oval Office in another display of his job battling the perception that the Trump administration does not have a coherent Africa policy.

In January, Trump referred to African nations and Haiti as "s---hole" countries and asked why the U.S. couldn't take in more immigrants from countries like Norway. Trump eventually denied using the term, but his secretary of state has taken tough questions during his first tour of the continent about those remarks. After more than a year in office, Tillerson finally visited Africa, becoming the highest-ranking Trump administration official to do so.

Moving past those comments and finding ways to work together is the message Tillerson has focused on in each stop - one that African leaders expressed a desire for as well, according to two African diplomats in Washington.

Chad's inclusion shocked many experts, including at the State Department, because the country has been a strong regional ally for the U.S. and critical to its efforts to combat the growing terror threat in sub-Saharan Africa. Chad itself was deeply offended and confused by the announcement and has worked since then to be removed.

Nearly six months later, with the ban still in place, Chadian President Idriss Déby made his anger known.

"The president expressed his incomprehension in this measure" to Tillerson, Foreign Minister Zene said Monday after their meetings.

Tillerson opened the door to Chad's removal, saying it had made progress in addressing the U.S. concerns, including greater passport control and information sharing on suspected terrorists.

"We're hopeful that we can return things to a normalization of travel status, but we'll have to wait for the final report" in April, he added, which Trump will review and then make a decision on.

Tillerson's stop in Chad was also meant as a goodwill gesture. He is the first U.S. Secretary of State to visit the landlocked country.

Instead, the PEPFAR visit went ahead with U.S. ambassador Robert Godec, and Tillerson visited the memorial Sunday morning.

On Monday, Tillerson was supposed to spend the night in Abuja, Nigeria, before a full day of meetings Tuesday. Instead, he met with the president and foreign minister Monday afternoon and departed that evening for Washington, with an expected arrival early Tuesday morning. After nearly two and a half weeks of travel, he wanted to get back to the office to manage the various situations from Washington, a senior State Department official told ABC News.