He said the costs were justified, however, because the government "saved a lot of lives" with its relief provisions.
"You can be very proud".
But at least a few people have paper towels.
Officials with the AFL-CIO are working with the San Juan mayor's office and the Puerto Rican Federation of Labor.
Convenience store-owner Raymond Ortiz points to health related messages he posted outside his business to help residents in the impoverished Playita neighborhood recover from Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017.
Take your pick of painfully awkward Donald Trump moments in Puerto Rico: Spanking officials for spending too much money on hurricane recovery; praising them for having a death count of 16 or; launching a bunch of paper towels into a crowd. "It doesn't make you feel good", she said.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, he praised his administration's response to Maria. Puerto Rico's population totals just 3.4 million and its debt burden has always been unwieldy.
Donald Trump visited locals in the neighborhood of Gauynabo on Tuesday in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.
During his visit Trump handed out supplies at a church where about 200 local residents where cheering for him as he walked in. He applauded the success of his administration's efforts in the territory by indicating the death toll, which he very helpfully pointed out is lower than the death toll from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which he called "a real catastrophe". "You don't need 'em anymore".
After the president's comments, Puerto Rico's general obligation bonds due in 2035, which have been falling since Hurricane Maria made landfall two weeks ago, fell to 32 cents on the dollar.
Trump has been particularly sensitive to comparisons to President George W. Bush's handling of Hurricane Katrina and sought to head off that criticism yesterday.
And, she added, Mr Trump was sometimes more "miscommunicator in chief" than commander in chief.
In an airport hangar, where he sat with Melania Trump and Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, Trump complimented the governor, without forgetting to throw in the "high marks" he himself got from Rosselló.
But Trump's method for distributing aid proved hard to handle for some people.