Ivanka Trump tweeted a 'Chinese Proverb' at Trump's critics before the Singapore summit -- but it looks like it's not Chinese at all

Pool/Getty Images
  • Donald Trump’s daughter posted a quote from what she said was a Chinese proverb on Monday.
  • It said: “Those who say it can not be done, should not interrupt those doing it.”
  • Ivanka’s post appeared to be a jab at her father’s critics as he prepared to meet Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
  • The problem? Nobody in China, including the country’s state media, knew what Ivanka was talking about.
  • It does, however, appear on a number of US websites in lists of generic “inspirational quotes.”

Ivanka Trump urged on her father’s meeting at Singapore by tweeting an inspirational nugget she described as a Chinese proverb – but nobody in China has a clue what she’s talking about.

She wrote on Monday: “Those who say it can not be done, should not interrupt those doing it,” attributing the phrase simply as “Chinese Proverb.”

The post, which is currently pinned to the top of Trump’s Twitter profile, appeared to be a jab at her father’s critics as he prepared for his unprecedented meeting with Kim Jong Un on Tuesday.

Ivanka trump twitter chinese proverbIvanka Trump/Twitter

The problem? Nobody in China even knows what the phrase means, or where it might have come from.

People on the popular Chinese social media platform Weibo attempted to come up with a list of real Chinese proverbs that might match what Trump was trying to say.

They include “Don’t do to others what you wouldn’t want done to you” and “Those who don’t eat the grapes will say that they’re sour.” But nobody was able to come to come close to what she said.

Ivanka Trump DonaldMark Wilson / Getty Images

China’s state-run media also joined in the fun. The China Daily newspaper posted a screenshot of Trump’s tweet, asking its followers what they thought Trump was talking about.

In a Weibo post, the Global Times newspaper also traced the origins of Trump’s phrase to a 1903 news article, and said: “The truth is that the phrase quoted by Ivanka has actually no relation to China.”

Business Insider was also unable to trace the quote. The phrase often crops up in generic lists of “inspirational quotes.”

They include “111 Motivational Business Quotes of All Time” a post on blogging advice website “Learn Blog Tips,” “35 inspiring quotes to get you through your day,” a post on the blog of motivational speaker Dean Seddon, and the similarly-named “22 quotes that will get you through the day” on college website The Odyssey h.

Ivanka is idolized by many people in China, where she is referred to by the Chinese characters 伊万卡 – pronounced “Yi Wan Ka” – and even described as a “goddess.”

Donald Trump met the North Korean leader in Singapore, during which the two leaders signed a vague joint statement to work toward “complete denuclearization.”

Trump also described Kim -who has called the US president a “dotard,” and overseen numerous assassinations and incarcerations as ruler – as “funny,” “smart,” and “talented.”

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