WASHINGTON, D.C. — In preparation for his long-awaited visit to survey the damage left in the wake of the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment disaster, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg's team is briefing him on the catastrophe by using a wooden toy train set.
"Chugga chugga chugga — TOOT TOOT! Uh oh! Choo choo go boom!'" said Pete excitedly as aides brought out a toy recreation of the derailment. "Wooo Woooooooo! I'm a conductor!"
"We figured this would be the best way to help him understand," said top Buttigieg aide Michael Fitzpatrick. "Dealing with complex problems with a lot of moving parts and sensitive elements isn't exactly Secretary Buttigieg's strong suit. These little wooden toys from Ikea really come in handy."
Buttigieg is finally commenting on the train derailment that has resulted in a release and controlled burn of toxic chemicals and is planning to visit the region soon. Aides quickly found the Secretary's basic knowledge of the incident — and the state of Ohio in general — to be severely lacking. "He initially thought we were referring to Palestine, like in the Middle East," said Patrick Fitzmichael, another close Buttigieg advisor. "We had to grab a globe and show him where Ohio is. After that, using the little toy train set seemed like a good idea."
Sources who were present at the closed-door briefing described the scene as "fun" and "playful," but also "disturbing" and "unbefitting of national leadership."
At publishing time, the Buttigieg team was scrambling to find an adult-sized train conductor's hat, which the Secretary had demanded if he was going to visit the derailment site.
By now the whole internet has heard Ben Shapiro rapping, but did you know that there are actually two more verses they cut out of the track?