President Trump talks to reporters before boarding Marine One at the White House earlier this week. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

President Trump on Friday cited the death toll in Puerto Rico as evidence of his administration’s success in handling Hurricane Maria recovery efforts.

“The loss of life — it’s always tragic — but it’s been incredible the results that we’ve had with respect to loss of life,” Trump said. “People can’t believe how successful that has been, relatively speaking.”

At least 16 people have died in Puerto Rico, officials say, a number that is expected to climb as the recovery continues.

Trump spoke to reporters as he prepared to leave the White House en route to his private golf club in Bedminster, N.J., for the weekend.

“That’s been going, as you know, really well,” Trump said of the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House. “We’ve made tremendous strides.”

In recent days, Trump has repeatedly touted the success of the recovery effort, even as his administration has faced criticism from some in the U.S. territory frustrated with the speed of the federal response.