Ivanka Trump had folks in China — and on Twitter — scratching their heads after she tweeted a “Chinese proverb” that apparently doesn’t exist.
Ivanka, 36, seemed to be celebrating her father’s then-imminent meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Singapore when she tweeted Monday morning: “Those who say it can not be done, should not interrupt those doing it.”
She attributed the quote as a “Chinese Proverb” — but according to The New York Times, many people in China were “baffled” by the reference, with some calling it a “fake proverb.”
On the popular Chinese social media site Weibo, thousands of people tried to guess which proverb Ivanka might have intended to use. Some suggested more informal phrases that are popular in the country, such as “If you can do it, do it; if you can’t, shut up.”
The Times said the quote may have actually originated in the United States in the early 1900s, according to the website QuoteInvestigator.com.
Criticism was sharper in the U.S., with many Twitter users mocking Ivanka for the flub.
Actor Matt Bush of The Goldbergs jokingly referred to popular ad catchphrases like McDonalds’ “I’m lovin’ it” and Nike’s “Just do it” as Chinese proverbs.
Writer Matt Oswalt (the brother of Patton Oswalt) quipped that Ivanka’s “proverb” was actually said by The Office character Michael Scott “on that episode where he formed the Michael Scott Paper Company.”
Others simply pointed out that Ivanka was not quoting a Chinese proverb and criticized her for not checking her facts.
“Ummm that’s not a Chinese proverb. Can anyone in your family tell the truth about anything? Anything at all?” one critic wrote.
“Those who make up quotes and just claim Chinese people said them should sit down,” said another.
And some people offered up actual Chinese proverbs with pointed messages for the Trump administration.
“Here is an actual Chinese proverb,” one critic tweeted. ” ‘When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.’ Storm’s a’ comin.’ “