Ivanka Trump mocked after misquoting Albert Einstein on Twitter

President's daughter quotes the physicist as saying: 'If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts'. She changed the facts herself

Matter of facts: The first daughter posted the made-up quote in June 2013
Matter of facts: The first daughter posted the made-up quote in June 2013

First daughter Ivanka Trump has been mocked on social media after a tweet she wrote four years ago misquoting Albert Einstein resurfaced over the weekend.

The tweet, written in June 2013, attributed the quote “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts” to the famed physicist.

The only problem? Einstein never actually said that.

Twitter users picked up on the misquote, with some poking fun at the irony of such a mistake, while others questioned whether Ms Trump might actually be mocking the notion of changing facts herself.

A US author seems to have prompted the onslaught of ridicule after sharing the tweet, commenting: “The fact that Einstein never said any such thing only makes this tweet that much more perfect.”

In the First Daughter’s defence, it seems she is not the first to attribute the seemingly made-up quote to Einstein.

The quote appears to have been floating around for some time, with sites like BrainyQuote.com also mistakenly attributing it to the mathematical genius.

So where did the quote come from? While some believe it was made up as a clever criticism of changing the facts, others say it was likely a summarisation of something Einstein did say, although in less direct terms.

As one Quora user points out, the physicist did say something along those lines.

In his biography of Einstein, Subtle is the Lord: The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein, Abraham Pais writes of an instance in 1919 where Einstein apparently handed a student a cable which informed him that “the bending of light by the sun was in agreement with his general relativistic prediction”.

When the student questioned what he would have said if there had been no confirmation of his theory, Einstein is said to have replied: “Da könnt’ mir halt der Liebe Gott leid tun. Die Theorie stimmt doch” (“Then I would have to pity the dear Lord. The theory is correct anyway”).

The seemingly made-up quote has been wrongly attributed to Albert Einstein for some time

The Quora user, Alejandro Jenkins, points out that this exchange could be at the root of the misquote, as it could be interpreted to denote the physicist’s belief that “a certain kind of mathematical beauty and simplicity is a hallmark of scientific truth and that, in some circumstances this criterion trumps strict concordance with measurements, which are in any case always subject to error and re-interpretation”.

Regardless of the origins of the misquote, it certainly bears fresh meaning in light of the rise of “alternative facts”, a phrase that has become inextricably tied to Donald Trump’s presidency after it was first used by US Counsellor to the President Kellyanne Conway to defend former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s false statements about the attendance numbers of Mr Trump’s inaguration.

Of course, the US President’s daughter could not have foreseen the significance her tweet would one day hold when she shared the post four years ago.

The incident prompted other Twitter users to share their own favourite fake quotes.

“‘Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you’ve never been hurt and live like it’s heaven on earth.’ – Pol Pot”, wrote one user.

“‘Alright stop, collaborate and listen.’ – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,” quipped another, attributing American rapper Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” lyrics to the famous composer.

Unfortunately, Ms Trump wasn’t the only one to fall prey to the temptation of fake quotes.

Donald Trump’s new communications head Anthony Scaramucci was the butt of similar jokes just a couple of days ago when an old Tweet he wrote similarly resurfaced.

The businessman tweeted in June 2012: “Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt and live like its heaven on earth. MarkTwain”, wrongly attributing the quote to the famous author.

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