Ivanka Trump attempted to share what she called a Chinese proverb on Twitter, but immediately got dragged after sassy netizens clarified that she was completely wrong on the origin of the quote.
Ivanka posted and pinned the tweet, apparently as a reference to her father’s meeting with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.
“Those who say it can not be done, should not interrupt those doing it.” -Chinese Proverb
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) June 11, 2018
While the tweet attracted plenty of divisive attitudes, most Chinese netizens and lore researchers agree that the “Chinese proverb” most certainly did not originate in China.
Quote Investigator, a website dedicated to tracking and tracing the origins of quotes, found that the phrase most likely originated during the dawn of the 20th century in the United States. QI found that the quote has been attributed to a variety of Western voices and publications including Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, American writer Elbert Hubbard, humor magazine “Puck”, Saxby’s Magazine, and The Washington Post.
Later, it would be mischaracterized as Chinese and falsely connected to Confucius–the fate of many other wise-sounding sayings. Quote Investigator actually had this research completed and posted in January of 2015.
A simple Google search or fact check would easily have prevented this embarrassing and problematic mistake.
Three minutes of googling suggests this is a fake Chinese Proverb. It seems in fact to be American from the turn of the 20th c.—which makes sense, since its spirit is can-do Americanism. But why are Trump WH aides giving our proverbs to China, increasing our proverb deficit? https://t.co/bqjbZhXlQr
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) June 11, 2018
Twitter users, many of them Chinese themselves, quickly seized on the faux pas. Many were quick to point out Ivanka’s complicated relationship with China in their burns and jabs. The first daughter’s history of making knock-off designer clothes in China was a particularly popular theme.
For the record, this is not a Chinese proverb but a piece of ‘mysterious East’ wisdom made up by Westerners (see next tweet). 1/ https://t.co/HqGnwCI4SP
— Michael Li (@mcpli) June 12, 2018
Impressive. The one thing of Ivanka’s that wasn’t made in China and she claims it was.
— Zach Hurst (@TheRLKing) June 12, 2018
"This not even remotely an actual Chinese proverb." – Chinese Proverb https://t.co/d7UiTYvrfS
— Angry Asian Man (@angryasianman) June 11, 2018
Those who make knock-off designer shoes in Chinese sweat shops with child labor should not quote Chinese proverbs. https://t.co/vtHvQKS4YF
— Randi Mayem Singer (@rmayemsinger) June 11, 2018
Others took it as a clear demonstration of her inherent dishonesty and untrustworthiness.
Unfortunately Ivanka misread this Chinese Proverb. Its not a bribery & corruption permission slip for US government employees who own shoe licenses. The FBI will eventually interrupt you. They’re rude that way. #IdGetaLawyer https://t.co/MmPmvbnnju
— Malcolm Nance (@MalcolmNance) June 11, 2018
Ivanka has been known to misquote on social media. In 2013, she posted what she claimed to be an Albert Einstein quote.
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) June 23, 2013
His estate responded.
— Albert Einstein (@AlbertEinstein) July 24, 2017
As one Twitter user pointed out, even after the entire Internet slammed her ignorance, Ivanka offered a glib reply and pinned the tweet, which has been accumulating plenty of likes from various admirers and supporters. Maybe she’s just trolling us all!
Good idea 😉 https://t.co/MMFmSJiobY
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) June 12, 2018
Ivanka has pinned her Chinese Proverb tweet. She knew before she pinned it that it is not, in fact, an actual Chinese Proverb because everyone on Planet Earth told her so. This entire family loves nothing more than doubling down on being ignorant dicks.
— Amanda Guinzburg (@Guinz) June 13, 2018
Another mystery of the East: Why would Ivanka try to use a Chinese quote to sum up the events occurring in North Korea?