The President's daughter and advisor posted the proverb on Twitter as her father geared up for the historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Confucius says Ivanka Trump made a proverbial social media gaffe.
The blog Quote Investigator has found that the saying first emerged in a 1903 Chicago magazine in reference to innovation during that time.
Ivanka Trump has suffered another embarrassing mishap on Twitter after sharing an apparently fake "Chinese proverb".
But criticism was more muted, with many people appearing more interested in helpfully trying to guess which actual Chinese idiom she might have meant to use.
Ivanka's post appeared to be a jab at her father's critics as he prepared to meet Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
The quote also has been attributed to Irish author George Bernard Shaw.
But it was reportedly panned on China's social network, Weibo, and may have actually been an early 20th-century saying. "Please help!", read a post by news channel Sina, which is Weibo's parent company, as per news agency AFP.
'Our editor really can't think of exactly which proverb this is.
Others took the opportunity to create their own "Chinese proverb", while some accused her of spreading "fake news".
As you would expect, Twitter users have jumped at the chance to mock the 36-year-old mother-of-three, with Chinese literature scholar Brendan O'Kane tweeting: "You can call any old sh*t a Chinese proverb on the internet".
"She saw it in a fortune cookie at Panda Express", one Chinese user speculated on Weibo, a microblogging website popular in China. "It seems in fact to be American from the turn of the 20th c. -which makes sense, since its spirit is can-do Americanism", he tweeted. Since then, the quote has gone through a number of variations and attributions.
However, he added: 'But why are Trump WH (White House) aides giving our proverbs to China, increasing our proverb deficit?.