A president’s ability to deflect charges of corruption or scandal.
The term originates was coined by Rep. Pat Schroeder (D-CO) when she took to the House floor in 1983 and said of President Ronald Reagan: “He has been perfecting the Teflon-coated presidency: He sees to it that nothing sticks to him.”
Writing in USA Today two decades later, Schroeder explained she “got the idea of calling President Reagan the ‘Teflon president’ while fixing eggs for my kids. He had a Teflon coat like the pan.”
Steve Kornacki notes Schroeder’s characterization “was meant to be disparaging, but in coining the term ‘Teflon president,’ Schroeder actually identified a significant phenomenon in politics — the willingness of voters to excuse in some politicians shortcomings that they wouldn’t accept in most others.”