Ivanka Trump, like her father, is no stranger to Twitter snafus, and her latest mistake has the internet going in hard. On Tuesday, the first daughter tweeted an inspirational quote on driving change, which she attributed to Socrates. The internet was quick to point out that the quote doesn’t come from Socrates — or at least, not the most commonly referenced person bearing this name. The words quoted by Trump on social media were uttered by a fictional character named Socrates from the book Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives, by gymnast Dan Millman.
“‘The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.’ -Socrates,” tweeted Trump.
The most famous Socrates — a philosopher who died in Greece in 399 BC — didn’t actually coin the above phrase. A gas attendant named Socrates from Millman’s fictionalized memoir published in the 1980s did.
After noticing the mistake, people online jumped in to correct Trump. Some of them held nothing back while doing so.
“Ivanka Trump doesn’t seem to know her Aristotle from her Plato. Or Socrates, for that matter..that quote comes from a gas station attendant called Socrates.. in a fictionalized memoir written by former American gymnast Dan Millman
#WorldFool,” wrote delgeo1.
One user called on Chelsea Clinton to set Ivanka straight.
Hi @ChelseaClinton . Can you help Ivanka by teaching her who is Socrates ? (The philosopher one).
— Sylvain_QC (@Sylvain_QC) October 16, 2018
Others used images to convey their amusement.
— ✨???????????????????????? ????????????????✨ (@_ashlynn_b) October 16, 2018
After being mocked by people on social media, she deleted the tweet and reposted it, adding the disclaimer: “note: a fictional character not the philosopher.”
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
-Socrates (note: a fictional character not the philosopher)
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) October 16, 2018
People still weren’t having it.
“‘The secret of misidentified quotes is to put a dash line before any famous person’s name immediately following the quote.’ -Abraham Lincoln (note: a fictional character but still giving the wrong impression),” said one Twitter user.
“‘They don’t think it be like it is but it do.’ – Oscar Gamble (note: a baseball playing character not the Zumba instructor I meet every 3rd Tuesday of the month),” tweeted another.
Twitter user Paul McNeil seems to believe that Socrates would be shocked at the error.
— Paul McNeil (@PaulMcNeil70) October 16, 2018
Ivanka Trump has made Twitter mistakes before. In June, she tweeted a quote, calling it a Chinese proverb.
“Those who say it can not be done, should not interrupt those doing it.” -Chinese Proverb
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) June 11, 2018
Twitter users pointed out that the phrase isn’t a Chinese idiom.
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
Trump has also been criticized for tweeting that she’d had an “otherwise incredible day” while cuddling her nephew. People pointed out that “otherwise” implies that her day went well until she snuggled up with her nephew.
In May, Trump tweeted a photo of her holding her son, with a caption saying that her son is her heart. At that time, her father, President Donald Trump, was in the middle of the scandal involving his administration’s policy to separate immigrant children from their families.
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) May 27, 2018
The “tone deaf” image was met with a swift backlash.
This is so unbelievably tone deaf, given that public outrage is growing over young kids being forcibly ripped from the arms of their parents at the border — a barbaric policy that Ivanka Trump is complicit in supporting. https://t.co/Hy1FVjLoZV
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) May 27, 2018