Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence brushed off criticism that Trump's exhortation to "VOTE TRUMP!" in the wake of the murder Dwyane Wade's cousin, Nykea Aldridge, was offensive.

"Donald Trump has a plain-spoken way about him," the Indiana governor said Sunday on CNN. "Right after that [first tweet], he issued a tweet expressing his prayers and his thoughts and his condolences."

Pence said that the businessman's tweet laid out the choice that America faces this election.

"Donald Trump is laying out in that tweet in short form — and there's what, 140 characters — that we have a choice to make as a country," he said. "We can continue with the leadership that has left us with dangerous streets in our cities, failing schools, no jobs, or we can go with someone who is committed to educational choice, for minority families and families all across this country."

"Dwyane Wade's cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago," Trump's tweet read. "Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!"

Critics condemned Trump in the hours that followed for attempting to court voters in the aftermath of a tragedy.